Nick Young: We’re… comfortable.
Rachel Chu: “Comfortable” is what rich people say!!
— Crazy Rich Asians (film)
I’m unlikely to make it to my guided workout today because I’m waiting for the plumber. Yesterday our hot-water heater refused — it’s tankless, so it’s an all-or-nothing proposition — and hot water’s a priority. (I’ve been holding out on showering; My Sweetie endures the chill.) Plumber trumps personal training.
As I took advantage of the time to tidy the kitchen, I thought:
We may have an unplanned new water heater by lunchtime. We don’t take it lightly, but neither are we rapidly crunching numbers, robbing Peter to pay Paul. Our cash flow will absorb it… which makes us comfortable.
One of the ordination-path prework forms I picked up yesterday is a required budget: how are you planning to pay for this degree? Given the education cost vs. the average post-degree earned wage, given the true scandal of higher-ed lending in the Aughts, I can see the care and wisdom here. And I winced, because I’m not sure how My Sweetie will react: we’re fine, we wouldn’t buy an education we couldn’t afford, it’s none of your business beyond knowing we’re comfortably off.
I forget which one of our girls, at middle-school age, said: Thus-and-so’s family is richer than ours; they have Shiny Visible Object. Ummm, no, probably not, Sugar. We make different choices in our family.
Rachel Chu would probably wave a finger at that and say, “See?!?!”
It is comfortable to simply replace the water heater. (It’s 11 years old, after all.) It is comfortable to commute from my suburban home to school, to choose my course-load based on what works for me (and My Sweetie!), to hold my eventual vocation loosely because it’s unlikely to be my/our sole support. One of my close colleagues gave up her adult-life perqs to follow the niggling spur of vocation into the seminary. She’s grateful for the larger gifts of subsidized housing, tuition grants, and denominationally-negotiated health insurance… and she misses her old apartment as she adjusts to dorm^H^H^H^H studio life again.
I find our financial cushioning a tremendous undeserved blessing. Undeserved is un-comfortable. Which is, I’m afraid, as good as I’ve got right now: I see the unmerited blessing, and am not confusing my inherent relative worth with that ease. It’s clear: God can’t possibly love any given one of us more than They already do — that cup overflows for each — so that’s got nothing to do with means.
And at the same time, I’m grateful. It’s an odd, unbalanced world.