Friday, September 18, 2009

money matters

It happened again. There have been times in my life when it has just clearly happened that the universe responded to my need. In this case, I made my best effort to take care of my own finances, drew money out of a retirement account in order to have what I need to do this trip to Tassajara and pay the tuition, and when I sat down at some point, I realized I had miscalculated and wasn't going to have enough.

On top of that, last week when the abbots were away on vacation, we ran out of checks. I knew we had more, but one of the abbots had them somewhere in his office, and I didn't know where. So I started writing checks out of my personal account to cover necessary Center expenses. I didn't worry about that, because I knew I would be reimbursed when they got back (which of course happened).

Out of the blue, I got some unexpected money from one friend, and then from another. And this time when I sat down and calculated, I realized I had more money than I needed.

Money is so slippery. It seems like we can calculate and record and figure and analyze and budget, and that's all fine, probably important, but there is another aspect to it that is more fluid, more difficult to pin down. A friend recently commented about trying to get "those wily duckies" in a row, and it feels like that sometimes. I go along feeling just fine, and then suddenly I start to worry that I won't have enough. And then something like this happens and suddenly I have plenty. How much of this is objectively true and how much of it is my own internal feeling about it all?

As a monk, I'm dependent on the community for my living -- well, mostly, because in fact I do have some small retirement accounts as well, and in a couple more years I'll qualify to begin receiving Social Security. But even there, one could argue that I'm dependent on the community around me. As much as we all say that we make our own living, do we really? Even as a lay person, when I was working and being paid, I found that there were aspects to it that were sometimes a little mysterious.

I find myself filled with gratitude, and keep tentatively trusting the bounty of the universe that somehow keeps taking care of me.


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