In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps. Proverbs 16:9

Thursday, January 31, 2013

What Happened to My Life?

I have always prided myself on not thinking that I am better than anybody else, or at least, not TOO much better than anybody else.  I even try to give the benefit of the doubt to the shabby chic (minus the chic) men and women holding cardboard signs, knowing that each has a story and they probably wouldn't have chosen theirs if they had a choice.  Well, all that pride is gone after the past three days and today just put an exclamation point on it.  It turns out that I DO, in fact, think I am better than a lot of people, and I am pretty disappointed in myself.

I don't want to be an oversharer, but I have to set up the story a little.  As prepared as we thought we were financially for something like this, we never could have foreseen what has happened here with finances.  I will be fine.  I really will.  However, all of this craziness has led me to sign up  with a couple different government programs, hopefully, for the shot term.  So, today was the first day that I was going to use these special checks for the basics . . . milk, bread, fruit, etc . . . . I was told upon receiving them that they would be easy to use and that Wal-Mart knows exactly what to do with them.  So, I carefully chose a Wal-Mart that I would safely see nobody that I knew (see how awful I am). I made my list on my phone, so I wouldn't have to pull out this identifying folder and I headed into no mans land.  I'm sure you already know what happens next.  Within, about 8 minutes, I see someone that I know.  "What are you doing over here?" she asked.  I blubbered my way through the question.  Then she looked in my cart and said, "That is a really interesting collection of things in your cart."  (BTW - this is like one of my closest friends and I know she is going to die when she reads this).  I blubbered some more.  I just couldn't believe that I was in Wal-Mart trying to use these ridiculous checks that actually ARE very complicated.  I couldn't really tell her all I was thinking, because the tears were already itching to spout out.  So, I gather my basics and an Etch-a Sketch and head to check out.  My pulse is already rising a little.  I don't know exactly how to execute this exchange and neither did the cashier, for crying out loud.

First of all, she forgot to use one of the checks and made me use cash and then couldn't fix it. "Whatever, I just want to get out of here," is what was circling in my head. Then I needed 2 cartons of a half dozen eggs.  They were out, so I got a dozen.  Seems to make sense, but she was not satisfied with my answer, so she sent someone to the very last isle, about a quarter of a mile away, to check for the 1/2 dozen egg cartons.  Meanwhile, I'm starting to sweat a little.  People keep coming to my line and she kept saying, "I'm having someone check on a WIC item, so you might want to find another line."  I wanted to say, "Do you have to keep telling everyone that I'm on WIC?" I also wanted to tell her and everyone else that I've graduated from high school, college and even grad school.  That I didn't get pregnant irresponsibly.  That I didn't marry some dead beat.  And all those other terrible thoughts that I had running through my mind.  I just felt so little, standing there.  I wanted to say something to set myself apart from all the other WIC users.  Ugly, I know.  So ugly.  OK - so low and behold there were not any 1/2 dozen egg cartons and so we used the dozen carton that I initially picked up. She proceeded checking me out.  Oh, wait.  She scanned the orange juice.  "You can't get pulp free orange juice with WIC," she said.  I told her, that isn't what my little pamphlet said.  This time I said out loud, "Whatever - I've gotta go.  I'll just pay for it."  Again, the egg checker came back and she asked him to check on the pulp free business.  This is just getting ridiculous by this point.  I'm holding up the line again. (It is, for reals, like 20 minutes for about 8 items by this point). Again she keeps announcing, "We're having a WIC problem here."  Oh my gosh - I'm sweating like a pig now.  This is so embarrassing.  I keep considering leaning in, hitting the switch to the checker light and and saying, "Let's just turn this little guy off for now." The answer comes back after I've already paid for it.  Pulp free is fine.  Oh my lands - I went through all of that and for so little.

I feel like Kristin Wigg on Bridesmaids asking what happened to my life?  I used to go to Safeway and Costco.  I had even just entered the world of organic foods and now 6 weeks later, this is my life?  I don't care that much.  I'd shop at Wal-Mart every day of my life if I could see Dave one more time, but my life is such a series of "What happened to my life?"

Back to the story.  I got in the car.  I teared up a little and then God repeated something to me that he just keeps repeating, over and over and over in so many situations lately.   "Holly, you are a daughter of the Lord Most High."  I am not little, I am not forgotten, I am not less.  And neither is anyone who is on WIC or anyone who has lost a spouse, or anyone, anywhere in any situation.  I John 3:1 - "See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!"  I am a daughter of the Lord Most High!!!!!!!!!  He sees me.  He sees my crazy life.  He sees my children.  He loves me.  He wants the best for me.  He is with me.  I don't believe this at all times, but God is faithful to remind me when I need reminding.


Jill said...

Holly I am so sorry for your sadness.

DenaCyd said...

Holly, You may not remember me, but I went to OBU. I was a few years older than you. Although my journey to single motherhood is different, I completely understand all of your feelings! I often ask how did I go from pastor's wife to divorced single mom of three kids? I wear a scarlet letter "D" that makes me want to shout, "It wasn't my fault!" Through the last three years of pain and hurt, God has been so amazingly faithful! My faith is so much richer than it was at the beginning of this journey. Having him carry me through the trials of this life has been the most painful and most rewarding experience I could ever imagine! God looked down and chose YOU for this journey because He saw something in you. He sees the work He is beginning in you and the work He will do through you. He will faithfully see you through! You are an inspiration already! Dave is proud! Praying for you, Dena Johnson

Anonymous said...

Ugh. NEVER do WIC at Wal-Mart. King Soopers has their act together. I get SO infuriated that I REFUSE to go to Wal-Mart for WIC. They have no clue what they are doing and I've tried it on several occasions to give them a 3rd, 4th, and 5th try.

And by the way, my husband has two Masters, and yes, we are on WIC. It's okay, don't be ashamed there are more "like you" out there on WIC that aren't just milking the system. It's not forever and you are taking care of your family :-)

Keep up the good work, Mama. <3

Marika said...

I've worked with people who teach full time and have husbands who work full time but they still qualify for WIC. You have shown amazing strength through a terrible ordeal. Shame has no place among all the other emotions you must be experiencing right now. You should be proud of yourself for your incredible strength. I'm amazed by you and pray for your family every day.

Monica said...

Thanks for such a powerful reminder, Holly. Like you...I remind myself that I'm not better than others, but I know that I would feel similar in your shoes. I pray that you are as blessed and comforted by God as you are blessing and comforting us in his name.

Emily said...

Holly, You probably don't know me, but my husband use to work at FPC and I worked in the preschool there last year too. Even with both of us working at FPC, we still qualified for WIC. And I remember very well the first time I used my WIC checks too... I can very much relate to what you shared. Please feel free to email me if you need any WIC tips! And I agree with another commenter- NEVER use them at Walmart- use them at King Soopers or Safeway. The cashiers are typically better trained and TYPICALLy the transactions go smoothly- and the produce is way better then Walmart. :) Honestly, feel free to email me if I can help- heck, I'd be happy to go with you! And know that through all of the days you are being prayed for by many brothers and sisters in Christ.

Cheramy said...

Love your precious heart, and the way you share it. Keep going friend...I would go to Wal Mart with you any day, and just stand at that checkout line WITH you... Keep going. Keep going.

Your sister of the Most High,