Show Them [How to Save] the Money – Part 3: Marnie’s Story
When a Landing Pad Becomes a Launching Pad: Marnie’s Story
Marnie [actual name withheld] was sixty-something years old and living on pure survival mode. Not long after her 30-year-marriage ended, she was nearly broke. It was a long way from the life she once lived —filled with travel, an enviable home and what seemed to others, a loving relationship with her successful businessman husband.
She too once had a successful career — working as a flight attendant for TWA (back when they were called stewardesses) on mostly international routes. She spoke three languages and along with serving coffee and cocktails, fielded marriage proposals. Those were the “Come Fly with Me” glamour days of air travel.
But time isn’t always kind and not everything is as it seems. Not a marriage, not a parent-child relationship, not one’s seemingly good health … not even a mid-sized Northern California town surrounded by snow-capped mountains, an abundance of outdoor recreation and mostly good, hard-working folk.
In those glossy visitor brochures, however, no one tells you about soaring rents and real estate prices. A geographical area that once was affordable for people on the lower economic rung has become prohibitive. And it only took a few years to get that way.
But the former flight attendant whose well-bred and well-read demeanor belies her real situation, could not have known that. When she arrived in Redding full of optimism for a brighter future, Covid hit. Suddenly her only living option seemed to be the pavement. Considering that Marnie was more of a duchess than a derelict — at least in terms of her socio-economic background — that was a non-option.
Then someone told her about the Mission. Reluctantly, she came — petrified and alone. She had no idea of what to expect.
What she hoped for was a safe, secure little corner of the world where she could regroup and rethink her options in life. Being stripped down to near nothing after once having everything is a tough road to hoe. If you’re born with nothing, you expect nothing and can live on nothing. You may suffer from the malady of low expectations, but at least you’re accustomed to loss.
Marnie soon acclimated to her surroundings at the Mission, and, to her surprise, she started liking it. People were kind and nonjudgmental there. And helpful. Thanks to the Mission’s Money Savings Program, she now had options — options that didn’t involve sleeping on a flattened cardboard box on a patch of dirt, eking out an impoverished existence.
The gift of time is, perhaps, the greatest gift someone who is facing a crisis — especially housing — can receive. For Marnie, it meant finding a landing pad that could become a launching pad — a place where she was able to regroup and reinvent herself through a supportive and loving environment.
Marnie didn’t stay long, but it was long enough to save a little and get pointed in the right direction—to find that little corner of the world she could call home.
We can’t always predict who will succeed or fail once they leave here. But just as Marnie and others make cash deposits into the Money Savings Program while they’re here, the Mission makes deposits into human beings—into their present, and their future — trusting God with the results. “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So, neither he who plants, nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth” (I Cor. 3:6-7).