Yesterday, Desiree, the young woman who has been sharing the apartment with Noelle since Ray died in January, called Donnie, quite upset. The apartment manager was kicking her out because the apartment was rented only to Noelle. (Ray did not live in that particular apartment; he did not even visit because Noelle rented it after he went into a coma in 2006 and was in and out of a coma from then until he died this year.) There being no other option, Desiree is now looking for another apartment.
She called Donnie because she is Noelle's age, does not have local parents (is not in touch with her parents at all, as far as we can tell -- we don't push her for information), and has adopted us as family in loco parentis, calling us Mom and Dad. She has enough money on a monthly basis to pay for an apartment of her own, but she has no savings. The typical $200 security deposit for the size and location of apartment she was considering was out of reach for her. She wanted to know if she could "borrow" the money from us, "borrowing" in this case being a euphemism of asking us for a gift for there is no way she will be able to pay it back and we would not expect her to do that.
The timing of this call was particularly bad. I gave Lizzie 25% of my salary this month because the summer courses she was supposed to teach at the university were underenrolled and did not run. I give Shane 5% of my salary every month. It is not a lot, but it helps bridge the gap between what he earns at CHP and what he used to earn before he lost his job with the city police department. Doah always needs something since he makes only a pittance at the sheltered workshop, and this month those needs were more than $100. Beyond that, I had used God's credit card to send $300 to Wajeeha in Pakistan (an expense I fully expected would be paid back without any effort on my part -- and in the three days since I sent the money, all but $25 has come in from unexpected sources, as is typical with God's credit card).
Hm, what to do? I pushed the budget around this way and that way, but little seemed to help. Water, which is very expensive here in our arid region, and rent are both due from this bi-weekly pay check. There just simply was not a spare $200 to be found. I contemplated using God's credit card for this. After all, Desiree seemed like a person in trouble, and usually that is what God's credit card gets used for. However, I do not put God's credit card to personal use, so somehow this particular need of Desiree's did not feel right. Would God want me to use the card for this? I wondered about that even as I told Donnie, with a bit of uneasiness, that he could call Desiree in the morning (this morning) and agree to the $200.
God answered my question within a couple hours of my getting up in the morning. On the way to work, I had to run into the post office in the morning to pay the box rent, so I picked up the mail. There I learned that my uneasy feeling was not without basis. I must be going to need God's credit card for something else in the near future because in the post office box, when I checked for the mail, lay the answer to my question: a check for $202 for royalties from one of my publishers, almost precisely the amount Desiree needed, arriving a month earlier than the publisher typically pays. In fact, there was also a note from the publisher in the box, saying that the check would be sent at the end of September!
So, I could use the unexpected check for Desiree's need. That lets me save God's credit card for whatever is out there awaiting me for its use.