Today was bonus day. I was up at 5 in the morning, unable to sleep with excitement… and then with frustration and consternation. With my new job, my pay is exactly the same as my last job, but I get a bonus annually based on performance. I performed well last year, was promoted, and told to expect what, on paper, was a very nice bonus. In actuality, I got half of a nice bonus — the government helped themselves to the other half.
We were anticipating a 25% chunk going to the True North Strong and Free, and had exciting plans to pay off all our debt, replace some aging appliances, and maybe go out for a nice dinner. But with 44% of our bonus going to fund our inept and ineffectual politicians, I had to spend a few hours re-thinking our plans this morning. There will be no new appliances this year, and we’ll have to work hard until December, continuing not only our normal discipline, but the extra-lean efforts we’ve been working with all summer, to finish off the debt.
Still, I shouldn’t complain. We went to Asia, we have no credit card balances, we paid for a term of Seminary for me (turns out Bible college isn’t cheap!), and we put a chunk of money into the SUV that we own, to hopefully ensure we have no car payment or repair issues for at least another year. I saved some significant money by handling some of the work myself, and with parts from an auto-wrecker, and after a thorough cleaning, including shampooing the 3 year old baby stains out of the carpet, it feels, smells and cruises like a much newer ride.
The whole extra-harsh-self-discipline thing carrying on another 4 months is… tiring. My accountant/wife runs a tight ship. But its our desire to have financial stewardship and availability that is pleasing to the God who provides all our needs, so we will smile while we tough it out with our squeaky tank of a car, the microwave that you probably shouldn’t stand too close to when its on, and the 5.1 surround sound system with only 4.0 working speakers (who needs that whole right channel anyway?) We have it better than the vast majority of the rest of the world, and after-all, we have friends who have sacrificed a heck of a lot more than that for a cause much greater than their own comfort.
We remain blessed beyond what we deserve. And although we won’t be springing for a sitter tonite, if the kids ever fall asleep, we’re gonna crack open a $7 bottle of wine, and celebrate what was a great year at the very great job that God provided for us.