My People

My People
My matched set of grandchildren - Oliver and Cosette

Friday, January 22, 2010

drawing a line in the sand...

It’s Friday! What a blessing it is to have made it through (almost) a whole week without sickness! I’ve made it through the whole month of January (almost) without sickness – other than a little bit of a stuffy nose and a headache here and there and a little bit of (not uncommon) discomfort due to my interstitial cystitis that I’ve had for twenty years. Minor stuff. Yes. I’m doing well.

And I feel sort of like the person who wrote the song, “It Is Well”… which was written as he passed over a spot where his wife and children had all perished. It’s sort of like the folks in Haiti who are praising God in the midst of ruin. There are things that are not perfect in my life. There are worries and concerns. There are things that must be paid and no money to pay them. Yet. I’m doing well.

I woke up in a “get R done” kind of mood and I’m hoping that serves me well. I was praying – and voicing some frustrations to God about my status quo – the hole that I can’t seem to climb out of financially… despite the blessings and generosity of many people in my life. And yet I still struggle. And yet I am still in need. And I still have to juggle and worry if I pay one thing that something else is going to be taken away or turned off. And God… because He is God and knows my situation better than I do myself… reminded me of a little $750 child support payment that I’ve been cheated out of for the past ten years. It’s been paid in part – some of the time. It’s never been paid in full. Yet here I am… asking those who owe me NOTHING to help when the one person who owes me a lot is doing NOTHING. In the past I’ve looked into the child support recovery program and decided against it. it’s a lot of red tape. But you know what… we’re over $35,000 now in unpaid child support. That money would have changed our lives. And if it takes another twenty years to get it… if I’m going to be a good steward of the money I earn… and pay back the people that I owe… I have to get what’s owed to me. It goes beyond grace and mercy. It’s morally and legally obligated to us.

And so that is what I’m going to do… not because I’m greedy, but because I’m needy. Not in vengeance but because it’s right. Righteous indignation. Christianity doesn’t demand that we walk away from what people owe us and pray that someone else will pay what they don’t owe.

I’m also going to start forwarding Michael’s bills to his work address because this, too, is right. Why should I bear his burdens? Why should I be party any longer to the game of deception that he’s played his whole life with women and creditors and family. I’m going to do as I have threatened before and give his work phone number to anyone who calls to collect his (and Stephen’s) debts. I’m tired of living behind closed blinds trying to avoid the creditors that lurk out there. I want to do what’s right. I want to pay my debts. I want to have victory over this feeling of being a thief and a pauper because I can’t pay what I owe. Why should I have to get up every morning and run to the carport to make sure my car hasn’t been repo’ed when I could make two car payments a month off the child support that’s owed to me?

It was financial insecurity that put me in a position to fall prey to someone like Michael in the first place. Someone who seemed to be financially stable and generous. Someone who seemed ambitious and hardworking and responsible. I believed he could make our life better. Appearances are deceiving – especially if you WANT to believe that things are more positive than they really are. Yes, we should have hope and faith. We should believe God’s promises but we can’t ignore reality. Reality is that Michael was already deeply in debt when he met me and that’s why he freaked out about the debt on my trailer. Reality is that he never could afford the place in Woodstock. Reality is that he exaggerated the situation with Cody to make it seem worse than it was and deceived me rather than admit he couldn’t afford the lifestyle he had brought us into. He resented me – not because I wasn’t a good person or a good wife or a good mother – but because the longer he was with me, the more I found out about his dishonesty. He resented me because he couldn’t really give me the lifestyle he had promised. And as time went by he resented me because he could see the damage he had done to my spirit by what he had stolen from me. He did what he always did when the truth got too close – he ran. And in my case – he ran into the arms of a woman who didn’t know the truth yet.

The cracks in his character made him attack my character – to shift the attention from him. And his constant attacks on my character left me feeling abandoned and hopeless. The flaws in my childrens’ father’s character have overflowed onto our lives for 25 years now… and despite how hard I work, I can’t make up for who he should have been and what he should have done.

Sooooo… that’s what’s on my mind today. I’ve realized that healing myself means really understanding what character flaws are truly mine and what parts of my character are a reaction to the abuse and misuse of others. I’m not fixing anyone else. I’m only fixing me. And fixing me means not allowing them – my two husbands – to get away with the damage they cause me every single day of my life – by their acts of irresponsibility. And the only way to stop them from doing that is to draw a line and stand firm and say, “no more” by whatever legal. If you let people continue to bring you down, you can’t ever pull yourself up. I think I’ve always thought that it was better to suffer in silence – maybe I thought that since I am unable to handle my debts that I was in no place to judge. But now… I understand the connection between their issues and mine. And I’m cutting off their pipeline into my life.

Stay tuned for a weight loss and weekend countdown post!