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Loose Change

Cashing in on a greater reward.

November 30, 2009
Commentary contributed by C.E., Pukalani

When did 35 cents begin to have such economic significance for me? When a perfect storm of unplanned for events took place, setting me back financially. An insurance claim was denied; a blown tire needed replacing; a cracked tooth needed repairing. A small amount of money I was counting on didn’t come through. What had been a close but manageable dollar outlay for everyday expenses had suddenly taken a turn towards a negative cash ?ow.

By choice, my credit cards are no longer in play. They have been shelved for now. If I don’t have the cash, I don’t buy it. This self-imposed restriction has extended to one of the basics of what we all need to survive—food.  And yet, in always trying to find the good in all things, I am grateful for the lessons I am learning.

I now experientially understand what it is to stare at the shelves and count out pennies. In the most infinitesimal way, I am identifying with those who are going without. I now weigh the difference between choice in spending and necessity in not spending. I have fallen into the latter category; the view looks very different from here.

Encumbered by a host of responsibilities and a small hill of debt, I remind myself that with careful planning and focus, I will be on the other side of this before long. My reserve of wellness is quickly being tapped into by dual interfering meddlers—lack of money and great unknowns. I will my mind to stay in the reality of the short-term problem so that the long-term goal—getting out of debt—will be accomplished.

A helping hand of support and encouraging words can make all the difference to someone going through a rough patch. A hug, a smile, a nod of understanding, a social invitation—these are just a few examples of how we can be good Samaritans to one another.

As we enter this holiday season, I’m suggesting that each one of us go for just one day without reaching for our credit cards. Use cash. Think twice about your spending. See if you can identify with the less fortunate among you. Look—if you can, through the eyes of emptiness. Feel—if you dare—the pangs of hunger and fear. Cry—if you are moved to—for the plight of your fellow human being and dry their tears with the gentlest of hands and hearts. And lastly, give thanks—as you must, for your blessings, no matter how big or small.



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