Our Everest

My husband and I have a dream... a dream of being debt free. At this point it feels far more like an unattainable unrealistic dream than a goal. But for the sake of clarity I will say it is an official goal of ours- to be debt free.

Right now it feels impossible.

It reminds me a bit of a trip I took years ago. When I was 15 I travelled to Kathmandu, Nepal with Teen Missions International. A group of about 30 teenagers (along with our trusty adult leaders) went and stayed and worked at a Kathmandu orphanage for 7 weeks. It was intense and an amazing experience that I shall never forget.

But while we were there we went on a hike up a mountain near Kathmandu... it was a very mild form of Himalayan trekking. At the time I was a fairly fit, not overweight, 15 year old and I found this hike incredibly difficult. I have asthma and that didn't help. But as we were trying to reach the top of that mountain I felt like I was going die. Once we got to the top and I caught my breath it was fabulous. But the trip up sucked. As a point of interest I even saw Everest from the top of our mountain.

Getting out of debt feels like I am trying to hike up Mount Everest... a 32 year old overweight asthmatic carrying my three kids and cat on my back. Can you see it? I don't even have one of those incredible Nepalese Sherpa's to help me carry my stuff and show me the way.

It feels incredibly overwhelming. In fact I would far rather put my stuff down and sit down and give up completely than attempt the trek.

But the thing is we HAVE to do it. Debt is eating us alive.

I must say we have tried valiantly over the years of our marriage to stay out of debt. At one point we had almost done it... and then my husband got laid off from his job and we were suddenly homeless and jobless for a few months. We have never recovered.

I saw awhile back on Oprah that most Americans are one pay cheque from living on the street. I don't know about anyone else but I sure know that is true for us. Not that we would have to live on the street... the street is darn cold here in our neck of the woods. Plus we have good family and good friends. But the point is we aren't very far from disaster.

And I have noticed that when I share this with people many of them tend to be rather judgemental. I have been given my fair share of "helpful advice" on how to be a better "steward" of the money God has given us. The thing is I don't need anyone else to tell us we screwed up! We know that. People telling us how much we suck for being in debt and how we aren't living the way God wants us to live really aren't helping me any. They just make me feel MORE discouraged about the whole situation.

Sometimes I just want to talk to people who DON'T have it all figured out. You know, the people who AREN'T perfect. Like me. People who are willing to take this journey with us instead of jeering us from the sidelines or pointing and laughing from the summit.

Not everyone is good with money. But sometimes even people who are relatively good with finances and have good intentions still get into trouble.

It's like you get to base camp on Everest and then a snowstorm hits and causes an angry mountain goat to fall into the side of your tent causing it to hurtle into a deep ravine and you are hanging onto a rope being held up by your friendly neighbourhood Sherpa with one hand and your entire family with the other. Nepalese Sherpa's are strong but not strong enough to hold up 5 Robertson's on a rope.

So you fall.

And that's where we are. In the pit. Now we just have to figure a way out of this mess before we all freeze to death.


Judy said…
Oh, Tara.

I hear your pain.

It's HARD.

No fluffy advice here.
Bebemiqui said…
Sorry girl, I don't know about Canada, but I'm very grateful for government assistence. If I wasn't on poor people's programs I don't know how God would've gotten us through the last 7 years.

I hear you, those days when feels as big as that damn mountain suck.
el Maggie said…
I know so many people who don't even realize that going into debt should be avoided, who go on tropical vacations on the credit card, etc. It sounds to me like you guys are responsible by the very fact that you desire to not live in debt.

ps - nobody's perfect, and people who think they are are wrong wrong wrong!
Oh, Tara. I don't have any advice - and I know you don't want any. I do want to say that I think you are amazing! Your willingness to be vulnerable and let people see the 'real' you. I love that about you. Thanks.

You will make it up that mountain. You'll appreciate it so much more when you get there because it's so darned hard.

And *hugs*.
Ok, no preaching, no advice and MOSTLY no judging. We have been where you are and every day I pick up an apple at the grocery store I am blessed to remember it. There was a time when I looked at apples longingly, knowing they did not fit in our budget. sad, I know. And I hated knowing that my kids were NOT getting enough fruits and veg. We did what you're doing-- we recognized the place we were and began climbing. You've done the hardest part!!!!
I am adding ANOTHER book to your package, it's what we used to help climb out of our debts. I'll be your sherpa :-)
Amanda said…
I hear you too! If it wasn't for overtime...we'd be sunk! We keep saying, okay, next month will be the month everything is clear and it never is. Our debt is managable for us...but still not desirable. We're seeing Brian less and less...he's working OT today and tomorrow. Still I can't complain...I'm grateful for overtime.

I hope things start to get better for you!
Caroline said…
People who are judgmental about this are just either liars or fooling themselves. I don't think I know ANYONE with no debt. It's hard, and something we still struggle with, although our spending is thankfully under control. But it always seems that just as you get a step ahead, something unexpected sets you back. Dave Ramsey has a pretty successful program for getting out of debt - has many ideas that really makes sense. Gods blessings to you in you renewed dedication to climbing Mt. Everest!
Colleen said…
Debt. That's a big one. It's frustrating when you realise you're paying more to interest than to anything else.
Anna said…
That's a great analogy. Getting out of debt does feel like climbing Mt. Everest. It's hard not to look at the whole mountain and get completely discouraged and give up even trying. I get discouraged easily because I have a hard time seeing beyond that huge mountain.

It sounds like you are committed to putting one foot in front of the other and climbing that mountain one step at a time. That's all you can do, and God will take care of the rest.
Angie said…
Your story is TOTALLY my story. We make little strides forward, but get drowned by the avalanche shortly after. We are both horrible with money, which makes for a baaaad combination.

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