"The tow truck is on it’s way. Don’t worry, we will figure this out. It’ll be OK."
Like a lot of families we live on a budget. Stretching dollars to make sure ends meet, trying to shuffle expenses so those ends can comfortably overlap. Add the holiday season to a fragile budget and, well, financial woes are inevitable.
Our only car, one of many budget cuts we made to finance one of us staying home with the kiddo and for me to pursue my dream of writing, was not the best. It was cheap, safe, ran and we owned it outright. It met all of our criteria until that November day when it stopped meeting the "ran" part. As I coasted it onto the side of the highway a million thoughts flew through my mind. "Why now?" was the frontrunner of worries. The holidays were fast approaching and having to do major repairs was not in our delicatly planned budget. We would make it work, somehow, we always did.
Then the news. The engine was shot. Not worth repairing. We were without a car with absolutely no room in our budget for at least the next few months. My husband could rely on the bus system to get to work and back but what about the appointments, meetings, errands and play groups? We had more questions than answers. We were at a loss and, for the first time ever, didn’t have a plan B. We made a few phone calls. We put aside our pride and asked for help.
The response was humbling.
My husband’s co-worker offered her car for us to use, whenever we needed.
"If I have something that someone else needs, I am more than happy to share."
Our family friend went into high gear to search for affordable options.
"I’ll do whatever I can to help you guys out."
Friends drove 14 miles our of their way to pick us up to attend play groups.
"Don’t worry about it. You’d do it for me."
We didn’t have a plan B but somehow it was working. Groceries were bought, appointments were kept. The world didn’t fall to pieces and our fragile budget stayed intact. We didn’t have a firm end game but we were making it work. Today. We would make it work tomorrow. With the kindness of others, we would make it work.
Some days were tough. Events were missed. Sacrifices were made. But, through it all, we never lost sight of how blessed we were to have such incredible support. We could have easily found a car that didn’t fit our budget, added an expense, and debt, we could not afford. But we didn’t. We kept the faith that it would all work out.
Five days before my birthday there was a knock at the door. I opened to find our family friend standing there. Car keys and a bill of sale in her hands. I knew she had been looking and was trying to help us. I knew that we had looked at this car and it seemed to fit into our budget. I knew it was a possibility. But, to see her standing there, well, I had no words.
"Just glad to help out. Especially this time of year. Feels good. We will talk details after the holidays. Meanwhile, enjoy and Merry Christmas."
And just like that she left and I cried. Tears of relief. Tears of gratitude. No matter how hard the evening news tries to convince me that the world is evil, I believe otherwise. I have seen the selfless, good side of people. I have experienced the very essence of kindness. It is humbling.
I wish there was a way to thank everyone. Words just don’t seem adequate. The only way we can think of is to pay it forward. To keep this kindness going. To make love and generosity a way of life.
It is said it takes a village to raise a child. I’d like to alter that. I think it takes a village to help a village thrive. Life is so much better when we can lean on one another in times of need instead of fighting to one up each other. This story could easily be anyone’s. Replace "car" with job or housing. Change it to be an illness or new baby. It could be anything life throws your way. What this tale is about is kindness. Complete and pure, kindness. My family has been blessed with an exceptional village. We will forever be grateful to them.
Thank you all for being a part of my village. Because of you, this year, I have realized my dream of writing. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I wish for you a happy new year filled with kindness and dreams coming true. XOXO
Michelle writes from the home she shares with her husband, their three year old daughter and two dogs. She is the authority on nothing and may just be the most outgoing shy person you will ever meet. Her daughter is convinced she is a super hero but most days she feels more like the super villain. Read more of her work on her blog at www.JuicboxConfession.com or "like" her on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/JuiceboxConfession. All love letters can be sent to JuiceboxConfession@gmail.com.