Faith and Finance

So I’m trying to do this financial paperwork, and it’s making me crazier than I was already.

Part of the problem is that I’m going from having an income and modest expenses, now, to having no income and an income’s worth of new school expenses on top of the expenses I already have. There’s the tuition and fees and books and such, which adds up to A Big Number; then there’s the indirect school and credentialing related expenses of travel and lodging to go to Chicago three times a year, and CPE program fees, and Career Assessment program fees, and extra gas and lodging to drive down to Boston a couple of times and to commute to whichever CPE site I get (there are two in my state, about the same distance from here.) It totals out to about my entire income right now.

But I’m not going to have that income when I stop working to give my full attention to school. Which I will need to do, if I’m going to get what I need to out of this course of study. And I still have my ordinary living expenses, which aren’t going away – certainly there are things I don’t need to buy, but there are things I do: fuel for ordinary errands, car insurance, prescription meds, toothpaste, socks, etc. The sundries and incidentals and five dollar entertainments that add up to money I will not have next year. (This has been one of the reasons I’ve started building my professional wardrobe this year, while I have money.)

Sure, I can probably get student loans. (I’m sitting with the form in hand, wondering which is worse: to eviscerate my investment fund, or to borrow the max available this early in the seminary process. Neither one really appeals.) I’ll send in the application form soon; just because I apply doesn’t mean I have to take any out this year. But if I don’t borrow (from the fed or the bank), and I don’t steal (from my own future security) then what shall I do? Beg? I’m considering doing some fundraising before this thing is over. But I am resisting that too – pride, maybe; a combination of fierce independence and underlying that, the sad fear and mistrust that if I ask for help, it will not be forthcoming. (I am trying to learn to know better than this, but it is hard doing and I am not even remotely close to there yet.)

Dear Universe, You called me to this work I am undertaking.
I still don’t understand why You want
me, as fumbling and small as You know I am, but You called me and I said that I will go, and now I’m trying to figure out how to make that happen.
I am trying to trust that You will let me know how this is going to work when it needs to happen.
I am trying to trust that when I shrug and say “It’s just money,” that You will show me the way to make the scraggly ends meet.
I am trying to trust Your abundance, that when I have needs they will be met.
I am trying to step, O Holy Mystery, where I trust that you have put the stepping stones; or, if I miss, that You will teach me how to swim.

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