Season of Sacrifice
I’m not wealthy. Not even close. I would disclose my financial information to you, but that would be in poor taste probably. Let’s just say that I’m middle class. Negative net worth. Drive a 20-year-old Toyota Tacoma. Live in a modest apartment. Have a decent paying job. Paid off all my hospital debt at least.
Are you middle class? Let’s just say you are. I don’t know what you want out of life. Do you? Maybe you watch a lot of HGTV, so you set your aspirations on a big new house, or becoming an expat house-buyer in the Bahamas, or renovating the house you have. Maybe you have a hobby that you’re trying to get better at. It requires ever-expensive equipment as you hone your skills. Or you’ve got kids and you just want to plan for their college educations. Whatever you goal is, let’s just say that it’s going to be pretty pricey.
I come from what was originally I would call a lower middle class family. My dad has worked as a machine operator at Campbell’s Soup for something like 40 years. When he started out making $10/hour, it was more than my mom made as a radiologic technologist at around 20 years of age. But my mom did better then her own mom, who retired from Kroger food stores after decades of service. The further you go back in my family, the more you see we were always just working class folks.
Did you watch your parents sacrifice? I’m talking about years and years of doing without, staying stuck in the old pattern of being dedicated to the same job and hoping to put back enough savings to one day buy instead of rent, or even build instead of living in a falling down old house. I definitely watched my parents sacrifice, and one thing that strikes me about that is that one has to have infinite patience and grit to keep the dream alive.
In fact, you almost have to resign yourself to an existence where you believe that you will never have what you want to have and that your dreams will always be just dreams. Well, my friends, the truth is that the more time goes by, the less likely younger middle class folks like me will be able to achieve the same dreams for the same amount of sacrifice as our parents. The question becomes, “Can you ever give up on you dreams, no matter how unlikely you are to reach them?”
The answer is, “NO!” You keep the dream alive to motivate yourself. You can still believe that something is possible at the same time that you detach yourself from its outcome. Giving up the dream is the same as giving up hope, and day-to-day existence becomes a lot harder without that hope.
We hope for a better day to make living easier. Ultimately, my middle class ass would rather be motivated everyday by an ideal and by a dream than to be jaded by having so much money that the future would become inconsequential. (Can you imagine listless days of lounging around, wondering what the hell to do because your hoard of wealth could afford any potential option?)
Living in a season of sacrifice gives structure to our lives. And, by the grace of God, may that season only be temporary. Even if you don’t gain anything materially, you’ll learn not only how to keep the dream alive but how to let the dream keep you alive.
If you’re having a difficult season of sacrifice, my heart goes out to you. Things will get better. And if you’re middle class, work harder like Boxer in Animal Farm. But try to enjoy your time off at least. It may be all you get.