Photo credits

The Embalse de Riano in northern Spain. The picture was taken by .... me!

Monday, January 28

Money mistakes have a spiritual feel

The first mistake was to not send in my timesheet. I had printed it, obtained the client’s signature and scanned it; now all I had to do was email it to my agent. In the rush of the week’s project deadlines, that didn’t happen. So my company didn’t get paid for my time on Friday.

Normally, that would not matter, I would just pay myself from company reserves and the balance would be corrected the following week. This time, it came just after my corporation tax, PAYE tax and VAT payments had all gone out, plus the company has been drained by paying for our house redecoration and my wife’s MA course (which we had expected to get a student loan for). So the company had less than 1/10th of its normal reserves, barely enough for the week’s direct debits.

So I cancelled the direct debits so that I would have some money to live from. Except that it was too late and they got paid anyway.

So I went to my personal account and cancelled the week’s direct debits there too. Same problem. So that leaves me with £3 for the week. That’s not going to get me a tank of petrol to get to work, is it?

Now of course this weekend it was my wife’s birthday, and my daughter’s birthday.

Presents were mostly bought in advance, but we had to cancel the planned family meal out. Mrs had some money already, and also some money which I had already stored in her account for a direct debit on Monday. I warned her not to spend this, as it was too late to cancel the direct debit and we would get charged. But of course she spent it anyway. And she felt she had enough to take the daughter to the cinema (Les Mis) for a birthday treat. And she felt she had enough for a coffee, and a cake. And to get some coats for the girls. And to take the little daughter to the soft play area. So this morning. Her account was over its limit which means the direct debit I gave her the money for will fail and we will get charged. And we have £0 for the week.

(Although she scrabbled together some old change for today’s train ride to college, and also found a £1 coin at the bottom of her handbag to buy a pack of pasta for tonight’s tea.)

The better news is that her parent’s birthday gift was an unusually large cheque. She thinks this will clear tomorrow and that everything will be OK. I don’t think it will clear till Thursday. So we will have no money for food, and no money for me to get to work after my current petrol runs out tomorrow.

This story of disaster upon disaster all coming at the same time feels like the start of the story of Job. So maybe it is not all co-incidence and God is in it and will bring us through at the end. Of course the suffering of Job was real suffering. It’s not that his children were temporarily hidden till the end of the story – he did lose hem permanently. The children he had at the end were different ones.

Of course Job was innocent and much of our current problem is self-inflicted.

But I still have the hope that come Wednesday the miracle will have happened.

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