Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Catholic Hermit on Finances

A reader was interested in how a hermit deals with financial issues, something along those lines.

Well, this consecrated Catholic hermit, as most hermits (one assumes), survives on a small disability/retirement dole.  It did have an inheritance--not huge but a blessed gift and adequate--until the hermit got itself a bit hoodwinked by a realtor, house inspector, and contractor.  Now the hermit is what financial advisors and bankers term "house rich and cash poor."  

The problem here is that the house is yet very poor, indeed.  Still not at all salable, but the hermit is making progress with the manual labor, thanks to the good Lord answering prayers for a young helper who comes 3 hours per morning other than on mornings the hermit's physical pain precludes working.  This happens a couple times or more a week.

Last weekend, the good Lord provided quite the gift and surprise.  The hermit's daughter mentioned the hermit's son was going to be visiting her briefly as his career brought him to her area for some undercover work.  He decided he'd help out for a day.  So the "fam" arrived on Saturday.  We got part of the bathroom floor leveled and under-bracing nailed in.  The hermit and son worked on finishing plumbing the hot and cold water lines into the tub/shower manifold valve, and set the tub faucet and shower head from drop-ear pipe fittings.  Then the son-in-law and son set the tub on a mud base, requiring the hermit to do some chiseling out of some studs (old place is not plumb nor square)--an enlightened solution thought of by the daughter so that the tub could be slid into place.

The grandson sold the vegetables and berries God has blessed the hermit with in abundance in the gardens, at the end of the drive by the road.  We decided to simply ask for donations.  That is a good way for a hermit to approach all aspects of potential income and help.  The child ended up selling $80 worth, and the hermit was thankful to have the gardens harvested for the present moment.  Much had already been gifted to the helper's mom, a neighbor family, and another couple of people.  The grandson had hoped for 25% cut of proceeds; the hermit rewarded him with 33%, pointing out he had not tried to be "usurious" or "greedy" so was getting a bonus.  Good lesson (and good word--usurious--for him to learn).

Ah, the hermit's take on the veggie sale will help pay for a morning of the helper.  As for life style, the hermit lives very frugally and simply.  Rarely does it drive the truck, as there is really no place it needs to go other than an occasional drive to civilization for supplies.  And the need for supplies are dwindling, the farther along the renovations progress.   The helper's mother brings Holy Communion weekly now, which is a blessing for sure!  Praise His Real Presence!

For meals, the hermit tends to go out to the gardens and eats while praising God for fresh food for the picking.  Can just pick some berries, eat some raw green beans, eat a cucumber, pop some cherry tomatoes, eat some greens--and lately can bring in a fresh ear of corn to cook and enjoy.  For winter food supply, the hermit has started to freeze the vegetables and fruits.  Soon the Fava beans will be ready to harvest; they can be dried or frozen after blanching.  There will be much winter squash soon, and pie pumpkins galore.  Time to do a planting for fall harvest of beets and greens.  Brussel sprouts are ready to harvest.

The hermit spends very little on food items.  It supplements with some dairy products and stocks up from the least costly venue possible, when it makes the long trip out of the desert solitude.  The main costs are mortgage, insurance, used truck payment, Lowe's loan (supplies and kitchen appliances), least costly phone plan (old flip-top phone), least costly internet plan, low water cost, and with insulation in the hermitage, the electric bill is minimal.  Every other month there are prescription costs, and on occasion a tank of gas.  

For now, tithing is done in praying for the Church and in gifting people with vegetables, fruits, and religious items the hermit can share.  A bishop in the past said to not give money to the church until the amount of the two shoulder surgeries are essentially exchanged in amount. (He said to let that be my tithe as he felt the Church should have helped pay--long story, in the past, not going to explain or go into the parish or bishop's role in liability of injury).  This factored that the hermit would not tithe with hard cash for about another 11 years.  However, as soon as the hermit can get out from under the financial drain of this fixer upper, it will return to its tithing which was at 20% of monthly income.

This hermit lives lean.  A hermit--at least this consecrated Catholic hermit--does not spend much money.  It sells what it can such as doors or windows or other items removed from the hermitage that can be sold, used.  On occasion it sells, such as the vegetables, small items.  For awhile it did some woodwork painting for the daughter who paid for the work done--until it became critical to just keep working on the hermitage since the finances are not balancing out each month.  There is an end-date for remaining.

The hermit has had to learn utter trust in the Lord to provide.  It has not been easy, financially.  Friends and family have chipped in with work efforts as well as with a loan in one case and a gift in another, as well as small helps of financial benefit, now and then.  When the hermit is able--God willing--to finish the fixer upper and be out from under, the hermit will gift back people who have contributed, or if they do not want, will "pay it forward" to others who find themselves in tough stead.  Should the hermit die suddenly, there will be enough equity to pay off loans.  Fair is fair.

That's a bit about this hermit's finances.  In having this current, unexpected experience in financial plight (which has pretty much been the situation for the bulk of the hermit's adult life due to the pain situation and loss of career, inability to be consistently employed and now in later years), faith and trust have grown, along with humility and prudence and frugality.  The hermit is pleased to go without, frankly.  Recently the daughter gave the hermit a couple pairs of used pedal pushers--great for gardening and manual labor with lots of pockets for nails, screws, tape measure, carpenter pencil, box cutter, and small plumbing parts.

All in all, this simple, frugal life has become a serious JOY!

God bless His Real Presence in us!  Little children, let us love one another as we are through, with, and in Him--all together!  Let us praise God from Whom all blessings flow! 

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