Saturday, November 03, 2007

Rich? I'm Completely Broke?!

They say everything is a matter of perspective, which may be true, unless you don't like your perspective. This is especially true when it comes to money. Even more so when you've vacated a secure life in pursuit of your dreams of making it as a writer/scholar/minister.
Yes. Especially then.

I was thinking about that yesterday while I sent off yet another article from my tiny room here in Toronto. School work needed to get done, but the bank balance had dipped below $30.00, so it was now or never.
If I didn't publish something in the next six days it'd be back to the daily grind of a part-time job at Starbucks or wherever to help make ends meet while my writing aspirations floundered and dried up after only two months in the big city. What time would be left with school and work to write? Graduate school, for those who have never been, is really a case of professors foistering as much reading as possible on you as they can. )Think English lit. on steroids) And while I love Theology, I eagerly await each week's issue of Entertainment Weekly, where for two hours I can bury my head in pop culture.

Now, however, my circumstances have changed. School is second to, uh, money. Which means I have five days left to sell another article. Which means another week (or at least until the cheque from my last article comes) of not spending any money or even thinking about how broke I am. The truth is that I'm not a big fan of people who say they want to pursue their dreams but do nothing but talk about it. Of course, I probably don't like them so much because for the last number of years, that was me. Oh, I wrote, nothing would ever stop me from writing, but it was nothing like this. No, back then I could put days into a thoughtful blog, and wait to hear from my friends and readers, take my time answering emails and criticisms.

Not any more.

Now I must push and push the publishing industry, scour the websites for the latest news to write about, push and promote my new company (, continue to develop film editing skills by learning professional programs which will someday be helpful, and find time to read scours of books like The Contours of Old Testament Theology along with scrabbling along in beginning Greek. "What case is this verb? What's a case?" All of this work, and less than $30 in the bank account, with only the vaguest of hopes that I will see anything any time soon that isn't the inside of a coffee cup.

In light of all this, I managed to wake up early this morning and bring my clothes down to the washing machine to do my laundry. My housemate, newly immigrated from Poland, looked at my overflowing basket.

"Wow. That's a lot of laundry."

"Yeah, I haven't done it in a couple of weeks." I said. "I have too many clothes."

He laughed.

"I can put all of my possessions in two suitcases. I wish I had your problem."


Despite my low funds, despite the work and busy-ness, despite my occasional longing for the "TV life"(wife, kids, front yard, barbecue, income) I've never been this happy. I've never been so present in my own life. Following your dreams is worth it, even if your account balance disagrees. And sometimes God uses someone else to point out just how rich us broke people are in this country.

Maybe its time to take another look at the two accounts, the one with the numbers on it, and the ones where we've engraved our passions, and reconsider which one is more important.