So I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately about faith and karma.  Bad luck vs. good luck. Keeping a positive attitude and all that jazz.

Was it bad luck that the tree fell on our van, or was it good luck that my children were unharmed? Was it bad luck that I broke my neck, or good luck that I survived? Should I blame God for putting me through this, or thank Him for getting me through it?

It’s all in how you look at it. All about perspective.

I’m having a run of bad luck. Or maybe it’s karma. Maybe God is testing me, or maybe life is just trying to break me. Or maybe it’s just a bunch of random and meaningless circumstance and I’m taking it all much too personally.

There are others out there who are worse off. I know that. My children are alive and healthy (knock on wood!) and I’m getting through my days pretty well. Most days, my pain levels are manageable. I have a great support system. I have absolutely no excuse for wallowing in self-pity.

So I can’t make rent and I can’t seem to get into the one and only apartment complex in town. Well, my boys have both told me they couldn’t bear to live in a tiny apartment anyway, so they’d both beg to be allowed to live with their father if I moved there. That’s a positive twist, right? Even though I don’t seem to have any other options. Or anywhere to live.

So my power got shut off. At least I scraped together enough to get it all turned back on. Okay, two days later, all of the lines coming into my home were severed in a construction mishap that was out of my control. Hey, at least those repairs didn’t come out of my pocket.

So my daughter needs money to go to the World Cup Dance Championship and then to college in the fall. The dance team is really rocking the fundraising, and the college tuition is being helped by financial aid and student loans. We’re still short, but at least we’re getting closer.

So my SNAP assistance has been cut because I got my new minimum-wage job and my daughter has taken on a summer job. That’s okay, because there are others out there who need help more than we do. It’s okay, because the six months we had assistance allowed me to feed my kids a lot more healthy food than I could have afforded otherwise.

In short, I’m trying. Trying to work harder, trying to get ahead, trying to keep a positive attitude.

I’m a hotel desk clerk and a lunch lady. I babysit. I clean rental houses on Saturdays. I write books and pray they bring in money from Amazon. I’m about to take on another cleaning job two mornings each week. God, I can’t physically do any more than what I am doing. But still, I’m pretty damned thankful that I went from applying for disability two years ago to working my ass off to support myself now. My body is getting stronger every day, and I can do things now that would stun my physical therapist.

But enough is enough. I just can’t put a positive twist on the fact that my car died this morning. My ex is coming to look at it tonight, but I swear I heard “Taps” on the car radio just before that last clunk and wheeze.  Power steering is out, battery indicator light is on, and the engine is making horrible tap-tap-shuffle-tap noises. Sounds like a recording of Savion Glover dancing around in there.

That can’t be good.

Or cheap.

Okay, so it’s a good thing it happened near home, not on the highway or in the hotel parking lot at midnight. It’s a good thing my daughter didn’t get stranded somewhere. It’s a good thing no one got hurt. It’s a good thing we’ve gotten so many good years out of the old station wagon.

But . . . that’s it.

All the positive thoughts in the world won’t get my ass to any of my jobs to earn the money I need to fix the stupid car. All the good thoughts won’t get my daughter to and from her job. Optimism is getting me nowhere. Prayer isn’t helping. And I swear I’m going to throat-punch the next person who tells me that I’m just not listening hard enough to God’s answers, because right now the only answer I’m hearing from Him is “I don’t care.”

Funny, but I’ve never really lost my faith before. And there it just went, destroyed along with engine of my 2003 Ford Focus.

Author: A.J. Goode

I am a romance novelist, single mother of three, and a high school lunchlady. To be completely honest, I have no idea which of those jobs is the most rewarding and which is the biggest challenge. I love them all. I write romance novels about the kind of people who might pass me on the street every day. My characters are often hurting in some way, and need to learn to trust others in order to heal themselves. I also blog about trying to focus on writing, and about my day-to-day experiences in small-town America. I write about life. The good, the bad, and the just plain odd.

8 thoughts on “Focus”

      1. Turned out to be the serpentine belt, and my ex was kind enough to do it in exchange for supper. So . . . crisis averted for now. But this whole thing is going to be that moment I look back on as a turning point — when a $44 part was nearly my undoing. Something’s got to give, got to change. just don’t know what or how.


      2. Thanks. 🙂 Yeah, I think I’m the only one who can come up with the answers I’m looking for right now. Time for a little soul-searching and a dash of brutal honesty with myself . . . although I’d really prefer a fairy godmother.


      3. I’d really like to learn more about that. I already have a seller’s account on Ebay for my hand-made quilts and stitchery projects and a few other random things, so I’d really like to find out ways to make it more profitable. And suggestions you could give would be greatly appreciated.


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