Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Cars, Communion, and Cash Flow

This week has been a difficult week for sticking to my commitment to take the bus to work...On Monday, I overslept until 7 AM, so I had to take my car in order to get to work on time  (setting your alarm for 5 PM instead of 5 AM is not conducive for waking up on time...).  I also took my car today because I am going to running club as soon as I am done with work, and it is easier to get home when I take my car.  For the most part, I agree with friends that keeping my car is a good idea so that I don't have to depend on others for going to the grocery store, etc. on weekends.  I really like the idea of saving the money that I can by not owning/using my car...2 days in a row is definitely not what I had planned, and I will likely use my car at least one more time this week, since it is the only way that I can make it to the free Lee Brice concert at the local Army base on Friday.

One good thing about using my car is that I can make it to daily Mass like I did today, and I really like being able to do that.  I have given back my parking sticker, though, so I can't park on campus anymore....it helps me to keep my resolve to take the bus and use my car less.  Right now, it isn't that difficult to find a place to park on the street, but once the regular semester starts, I suspect that it will get much more difficult.  More than likely, if the car doesn't sell, then I will continue to take my car on Tuesdays, and maybe one other day a week.  That gives me the ability to go to daily Mass or to Confession before work on those days, and I still save gas by taking the bus all of the other days of the week.  It will also mean that I can start using the campus pool again, too.  It will mean that I will be helping the environment, but I won't be helping my pocketbook.  I use between 3 and 4 tanks of gas a month when I drive every day, and I usually budget about $120/month for gas.  I know that I can probably keep my gas consumption down to 2 tanks of gas a month. Of course, that is only if I take my car to work 2x/week or less, and then take the bus the rest of the time.  A bus pass is about the equivalent of one tank of gas at $30, so there really is no savings unless I can use my car even less.  (A tank of gas is usually about $35-40, since it is an 11 gallon tank) Well, I guess you could say that I'm still ahead, since I'm not paying for a parking sticker, which is $20/month...however, if it gets too hard to find parking, I will likely have to add that expense back.

The back of my car before I removed the 13.1 sticker when I was thinking about selling it.  There is one person that is looking at the car, and if they decide they want it, I will sell it (I kind of promised that I would).  Otherwise, I will be keeping the car.

At the same time, I keep asking myself this question, especially since I am probably keeping my car at this point: If I can get up at 5 AM in order to ride the bus every morning, how is that better than making the commitment and getting up at 6 AM in order to go to daily Mass, especially since there is no real monetary savings?  I can make all the arguments about the extra exercise and how it is better for the environment, but the real motivator has always been cold hard cash for this decision.  How is my bottom line (both literally and figuratively) more important than my spiritual well-being?

Somewhere over the last year, I quit getting up to go to daily Mass, and I'm not sure why....when my marriage was at its hardest, going to daily Mass sustained me in ways that nothing else did, not even running.  As I was driving to daily Mass this morning, I started thinking about how Eucharist means "thanksgiving," and that it fits nicely with my current journal theme of gift, for it is Christ giving Himself to us, but also us giving ourselves to Him in the Mass.  I want to get back into the practice of going to daily Mass, and I can only do that if I keep my car....where riding the bus, staying fit, and managing my time fits into all of this, I don't know, but I do know that it is time to quit being spiritually lazy.

One of my favorite quotes from Jennifer Fulweiler's blog is:
Your priorities are things you plan for.
 So, I need to begin planning my life around going to daily Mass, monthly Adoration, and running again.  I did that really well as my marriage was falling apart around me, but haven't kept that up in the time since my ex moved out.  I think that I got complacent because I didn't NEED these things just to function anymore. In the process, months and years of discipline have given way to a little bit of sloth on my part....it shows in my huffing and puffing as I run, as well as in the spiritual flabbiness that I have been noticing.  I don't know what I will eventually decide about transportation to work, but I do know that I want to make my relationship with God my first priority.  If I do that, everything else will fall into place the way that it is supposed to.

I am blogging every day this week....go see Jen Fulweiler's blog for a list of others that are doing the same!