Saturday, July 26, 2014

Round peg into a square hole

In order to understand this post, you will need to watch the short clip from the movie, Apollo 13. Sorry, you will need to go to the actual blog to see the clip.

Yes, this is how my life feels right now.

In order to make a home out of this house, we need to find a way to make this round thing fit into a square hole.

That is how it feels. Impossible.

There are days like today when I feel so overwhelmed by what we don't have.

Days like today, when I had to do a toss-up as to how I would spend the last of our gas: either use it to go to the city party and get-together "Glad Days" in Cologne like we were planning, or use it to go to Target to get Henry diapers because he was down to his last one. Both destinations are 15 minutes away and I had enough gas to just get to one of them.

Obviously, Henry's diapers won.

As it was, I had to use the money from savings for the door for Henry's diapers. I didn't want to use any more of it to get more gas and as much as I would like to fill up the tank to go to Glad Days, I still don't want to use more of the savings.

Because as it is, it's probably going to be winter time before we can get a new front door and we really need one, before the rest of it peels away in another cold winter.

We also need two more doors--one to replace the garage door and another for the utility door because both doors have huge gaps in them which will leak cold air this winter.

And so we are not just looking at a gas shortage problem, or the disappointment to not go to Glad Days, but now the lack of money to buy 3 doors for this house. And if we don't buy new doors to the house, we are looking at high energy bills trying to struggle to keep this house warm or just being cold all winter.

That's just the way it seems to be with this house; one problem is connected to another, one problem is caused by another and other problems can't be solved until the other one is first-- and all of it start with no money.

It is why days like today, I go to the store with a big frown on my face, trying not to look upset but feeling frustrated because there are more things that we need besides just diapers but will have to wait to buy them until next week. It's hard not to feel overwhelmed by it all. Heck, it's hard not to feel bitter too.

That's when this movie clip came to mind, when the control guys dumped on the table what looks like odds and ends of basically nothing--and told that the men must make a filter or device (I don't remember exactly what it was) out of pure randomness in order to bring the astronauts home.

An impossibility. And yet, they took everything they were given and they made it work.

You see where I'm going with this, don't you. And here you thought this was going to be a downer post.

That is exactly how I feel in order to make this home work. Like God dumped a box of random "this and that" on a table and said, "you need to somehow build something out of all this in order to make a home."

And here I am looking at the table of broken screen windows, bare plywood floors, smelly bathrooms, broken toilets, broken doors, leaky doors, ugly basement carpet, tiny kitchen, and a swampy yard.

How do I make all of this into a home?

And yet, on this table of basic random nothings, we have found that we have everything we need in order to be happy.

Money is not the answer to happiness.

We don't always get something fixed right away that should be fixed, but somehow Dennis always finds a way--through his own pile of random nothings--to make a temporary fix until we can replace it completely.

We don't always get what we want--such as going to Glad Days--because it's more important to save for a new door instead.

And we don't always have money at our finger tips because instead, it is lying in a growing heap in a cardboard box.

And when we are short on money--I'm talking so short that we can't even put anything aside for savings--God always finds a way for us to get some. Sometimes it's through an Etsy sale, sometimes it's from family that is able to help us out, and sometimes it's an opportunity for over-time at Dennis's work. And usually, the money that is given is "just enough" and no more--just the way God seems to want it. No extras for luxuries and in no time, we are back to scrimping and saving again.

But this is where we find our happiness, our satisfaction in somehow making it all work. The satisfaction when you are in a freshly painted room with the color that you picked, even though it took you a month to save up for it.

Or the satisfaction in hanging a brand-new attractive door that makes your plain ugly house just a little bit prettier, because you spent months saving up for it.

Making the round hole fit into the square peg, making the impossible possible.

Making a poor house somehow work together, because you used the bare necessities to make it into a home. It is how we are learning to be happy in a house that is poor.

It does sometimes get to me, like it did today when I had to tell the kids that we can't go to Glad Days, but it's always for the greater good. Sometimes we have to wait for the greater good to happen and other times we have to work hard to get it.

And if this is what it takes to teach my children the richness in poverty,  than I rather do it here in this house that is full of teaching opportunities rather than a rich house that is filled with luxuries.

The point is that despite the poverty of our situation, we really do have everything we need in order to be happy--all laid out on that table.

"God chooses little things in order to do big things." -- Mother Angelica


"You have a roof over your head, food and love, you have enough, you have plenty."--Mother Angelica

I need to bring this woman home with me.

Somehow, in all the inconveniences, we will find a way to be happy anyway! Somehow with all the problems and brokenness surrounding us we will find a way to make this home. Because we do have everything we need. Despite our money problems, not once, have not been able to feed our kids. Not once have we not been able to keep our kids clothed and clean (unless we are just plain lazy with the baths!) God has been taking care of us, He has provided for us, He has given us everything we need in order to be happy.

We have everything that we need.


  1. At Mass on Sunday I prayed for a new door for your family for the winter. I think that's a real practical need.

  2. Wow, thanks Lena, that's so nice of you to think of us!