I HAVE NO MONEY
by Pauline Lee
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I HAVE NO MONEY
By: Pauline Lee
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Abigail lost her job 3 months ago when her employer decided to shut down the company. She called me one evening and asked if we could meet. Abigail and I had not met or talked for 6 years. She was a high-flying 30-something year old corporate executive in a large multi-national electronic manufacturer. Her job was to develop international business alliances, wine and dine at prestigious clubs, and be punctilious in all aspects of style.
Our meeting was at one of Abigail's favourite hangout diners where a mini fruit plate cost well over $10. I felt that unusual "eyes on me", disapproving stares at my casual brand-less sandals and not so classy sleeveless blouse over a pair of past season trousers when I entered the somewhat unwelcoming, intricately decorated, maroon carpeted little restaurant.
My eyes met that of Abigail and we smiled, had a nice warm handshake and seated back while I was still trying to assure myself that I was not overly underdressed for the occasion. We had some trivial chatter before Abigail popped me the statement that took me by great utterless surprise.
"I need money," she whispered but loud enough for my ears to hear.
"Why? What for? Don't you have savings? I thought you've had a good income and it won't be difficult for you to find yourself another job," I gave a quick incisive reply.
"I have no money," she rephrased herself.
"How much do you need? What do you need it for?" I asked again.
"I bought a piece of land near a spa resort 2 years ago and I have to pay the monthly instalments through a housing loan which was approved when I was working. But now that I am not working, I can't afford the instalments and I still want to own that land because I've always dreamt of building my own house. Besides I can't be seen shopping in cheap drugstores, nails un-manicured, and moving from my service apartment in the city to some studio apartment where I'll break my nails housekeeping everyday. No one in the right mind would offer me a job if I downgrade myself to a middle-class, 3-meal survivor. It would be total disrespect! I would lose my social circle and club memberships and my trips to the spas," on and on she immersed in that self-pitying, disgusting act.
I was simply flabbergasted with her choices. Moreover, I felt belittled that she would meet me to tell me her sob story that sounded more like a celebrity's bratty complaint. I was more likely to tell her to buzz off!
"Abigail, when was the last time you went into a cheap drugstore, manicure your own nails, live on 3 basic meals, a warm simple shelter over your head, and just enough to keep yourself warm on cold nights?" I asked.
"Abigail, I have. I am blessed that God has never forsaken me in my lack of finances. He has provided all my needs. Sometimes when I have none to pay the bills, someone would pay it. When I found my funds are sinking, I discovered He provided in different ways to top it back. I don't need spas and manicures or hair salons to survive. I don't need branded stuff to adorn my humble body. I live on 2 simple home-cooked meals and I am satisfied. I never melted in the heat nor frozen in the cold. What more but to thank the good Lord for His divine provision?" I said.
"You're talking religion? I'm not interested in religion. I am poor and I just need some money to pay off my debt. If you don't have the money to lend me, just say it," she replied in counter argument.
"You're poor? I have a friend who's a single mother, with 3 children, slaving at the cashier of Wal-Mart with no new socks for winter because she felt it was more necessary to spend the money in giving a meal a day to her 3 hungry growing children. Only 1 meal a day! And there are people sleeping on the streets, not having a chance to celebrate Christmas with family or friends because everyone detests their poverty and slimy dirty bodies. I know a family whose husband suffers a brain tumour, lost his job, passed away and leaving a wife and 2 children to fend for themselves. The kids had to leave school and work. And you think all this is because of religion?" I retorted in my unusually diminished patience.
Abigail looked away. Her fuming red face and somewhat taken aback by my comments cast that predictable hostility that would soon burst into a public spectacle.
To some, money was buying them happiness. Yet to some, money was there to provide the means to live. To Abigail, money was there to serve her dreams. I met Abigail again 2 months after our last encounter and she looked totally devastated with puffy dark eyes, patchy dark complexion, and dry frizzy hair covering half her face. It was strange how the loss of materialistic things changed a person. But Abigail was still stubborn to let God deal with her problem.
Abigail is just one out of many similar characters who has fallen into the trap of post-materialistic syndrome. That is why I always give to those in need when I am materially blessed (1 Jn 3:17) so that I will not relish in worldly possessions.
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This is beautifully written. It puts things into perspective. I'm surprised a publisher has not snatched it up. Society makes us self concious of our appearance, be it we choose to be less expressive in our clothing or more expressive the eye of judgement is always on us. As far as your "friend" Abagail, she has some praying to do, for direction, and peace. We would all have more than enough if we would stop trying to keep up with what we see others are blessed with and be patient in our walk with God. God Bless you and thank you.