Wednesday, January 18, 2012

For Ariel

Today I am going to write a post about having an empty fridge right on the heels of a post about dream vacations all over the world.  Why?  Because that is the way life works.  When you have an empty fridge, you dream.  It is a survival mechanism.  Besides, this post is not for you, it is for my niece.  (Background:  she and her husband are newly-wed students, expecting their first baby.)

My Dear Ariel, 

You told me the other day that you were washing clothes in your bathtub because you didn't have any money for the laundromat.  My first reaction was that I wished I had $50 to stick in an envelope.  My second reaction was probably better:  I was grateful that you were washing your clothes in your bathtub.  

My husband has been in school for over six years now.  Last year, we didn't earn enough money to qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit (and that has a VERY low bar).  This was my fridge a couple of weeks ago--a few days before our student loan disbursement.

That is a lemon, jam, garlic (nearly gone), mayonnaise (nearly gone), yeast, one cube of margarine, a brick of cream cheese and condiments.
Don't you dare pity me.  I took this picture because I thought it was funny.  It looks like this for at least a couple of weeks before the end of every semester.  HOWEVER, not only did we not starve, we had good meals.  How is that possible?  Over the years, I have learned skills I never even could have thought up B.S. (before school).  And, even though I am sick to death of not having enough money, I would never trade these lean times.

That is the temporal tale.  The spiritual tale is more profound.

We have seen miracles.  I can tell you true stories, the likes of which you only read in the back of the Ensign.  I have witnessed fellow mortals respond to messages from heaven in angelic ways.  I've been humbled . . . again and again.  I have learned to value the command to pay a full tithe, I've learned how sincere prayer looks, and I have learned what it means to rely on my Savior.

So, while the mother in me would like to save you from your current fiscal crisis, the person I've become wouldn't think of stealing away this to-be-treasured part of your character.  While you are eating rice and beans that are still crunchy, don't think, "These are gross.  I can't live like this." Instead, think, "Next time I'll need to soak these a little longer."  Because during this time of without, you are becoming a woman with.

With all my love,

Aunt Emily


  1. Oh Emily, I love you :]
    Honestly, it has been kind of an adventure for us to be scraping change out of our couch (literally) just so we can run to the store and get a loaf of bread or something. Our fridge often looks like this and while I wish I could just grab a $20 out of my wallet and go get a pizza, it's forced me to learn how to be inventive with the food I cook and we have still managed to be full at the end of the meal. Haha :]
    I keep telling myself, if I ever find myself feeling overwhelmed, is that it could be worse....We nearly got kicked out of our apartment 2 weeks ago and since that moment that we squeaked by, I have been SO much more grateful for what we have..
    I owe a lot of that gratitude to the way you have endured every trial with JJ's schooling and student hardships.
    You are a great example of enduring to the end, and while I think that with your strength you were meant to be born into Pioneer times, I'm glad you weren't so that I could get to know you :]

    Love you Auntie Em

  2. you absolutely rock.
    you inspire me.

  3. Thanks, Emily! I needed that today!

  4. Perfectly Put!!! I absolutely love the last line of your post "during this time without, you are learning to be a woman with." A great reminder for all of us struggling. Thanks Emily.

  5. If only all the world had an Aunt Emily!

  6. Emily, I just read this post to my husband after discussing out on our date. He response was a desire to send you money before he heard the post. :) I admire you & hope to be more like you. (And Scott says you're a great writer!!)

    We had some experiences in "helping" people at Christmas time with groceries & goodies. One family complained & asked for cash for cigarettes (?!!); the other family was delighted that we even thought of them. Struggling & making what you have enough is a commendable value.