I have been a bit stressed about money as of late. I know, I know, I am preaching to the choir. The majority of us struggle at one point or another with bills– the unexpected medical bill, the furnace breaks, the car engine dies. When the unexpected seem to happen all at once, however, it can put a budget into havoc, and make me feel like we are living paycheck to paycheck, again! Isn’t it supposed to get easier as we get older, but it never really does.
Last night, I went to balance my checkbook, and I realized I entered an amount inaccurately. I juxtaposed two numbers, and it became very clear to me that if everything cleared, we would actually be in the hole. Ugh! So frustrating. I wasn’t sitting on a pile of money, but I wasn’t stone broke until the next payday.
My reactions to my mistake followed in this order:
1. Pissed at myself for not typing numbers correctly.
2. Pissed at our situation. We naively made so many ridiculous financial decisions six years ago that almost bankrupted us, and to this day, we are still feeling the repercussions.
3. Overwhelmed by the idea that we may never get ahead.
4. Sad that I work my ass off and I never advance. I am like the Terminal Tower, sinking a bit more each year.
5. Conflicted. If we didn’t pay for Catholic schools, dance classes, and camps, we would literally save over $10,000 a year. Yet, we like our Catholic school, the girls love their dance classes, and camp is an enriching summer experience. We are giving our daughters well-rounded life experiences, and we think they are becoming dynamic, self-confident young ladies because of it.
6. Jealous of my friends who have parents who offer support– be it free babysitting, helping pay for dance classes, a gift of something needed at Christmas. I know parents are not put on earth for financial support, but man, if I had not been forced to pay for sitters in the last six years, I would probably be ahead about $20,000.
I got into bed last night and I prayed. I literally prayed for financial assistance, or at least some sign that our situation would turn around. I told Jesus that I know it is inappropriate to pray for money, but I wasn’t praying for Louis Vuitton luggage. I was praying to live comfortably and not worry so much. “Please give me a sign,” I asked, and then, I drifted off to sleep.
Two guys in black suits and Ray-Bans are running down the road, and they look like they have done something wrong: stolen something, seen something they shouldn’t have. They are being chased by a black sedan but they are on feet. At some point, they jump into an unlocked car, and they slink down into the front seats. The sedan drives by. I notice that they have been carrying paper bags, and they each open the bags and take out cheeseburgers. They smell amazing, and they look great. A bit of steam comes out of the wrapper as they each unwrap a burger. The man sitting in the driver seat sighs and takes a giant bite. “Oh,” he says, “I needed this.” The other man nods his head in agreement; he has ketchup on his chin.
They eat their burgers and although they never acknowledged my presence, the blond man in the driver seat turns. I am sitting in the backseat. “Come on,” he says. “We gotta get you there.”
We steal out of the car even though the street seems deserted. The black sedan has not been by in a while. We walk less than a block and enter an unmarked store front. I realize it is an auditorium. The auditorium is dark, no one is seated in the red plush seats, but there is a handsome man playing piano on a well-lit stage. I find myself drawn to him, his hands are moving so quickly across the keys. It is effortless for him and the music is melodic and calming.
I move up the center aisle, climb the stairs, and I sit next to him. He is no one I know. He smiles at me with his eyes and I can feel goosebumps on my arms and at the nape of my neck. I feel his body heat, although we are not touching. He continues to play and I watch his hands move. The cadence seems to draw him to the close, but a Da Capo makes him repeat the classical movement he already played.
Right when he gets to the parts I recognize, he stops. His hands rest on the keys and then slowly slide off onto his thighs. He looks at me. He looks defeated, sad even. “I can’t. I can’t do it any longer.”
I don’t know what to say, but it doesn’t matter, I don’t have to say anything. The Ray-Ban wearing, black-suited men are back. They flank Donald Trump. The Donald looks annoyed.
“So that’s it? You are just going to give up?”
I look from Trump to the man, who is staring at his hands, once again.
“How will you ever know what you will be if you quit now? Anything that matters takes work. If you quit now, you will never know what could have been.”
At this point, his gaze turns to me. He raises his finger the way he does when he is about to fire someone. “Are you listening?”
I woke up.
My mind raced. This dream was the type of dream I love– intrigue, design, sexual tension. Yet, I usually don’t get yelled at in my dreams, at least not yelled at by a multi-millionaire. Was this it? Was this my sign?