Thursday, September 8, 2011

Let the GAMES Begin...


I never knew it was a game, really.  Back in the olden days, (you know, a long time ago, before the crash of 2008), it seemed like most people were like us, and just paid their bills the best they could.  When we signed a note to buy a car, or a house, or a new business, we did our best to pay the bill.  We tried not to overspend, lest we get into trouble and get in over our head.  We had never really heard of short sales, or defaults--I didn't even know what that meant.  Bankruptcy existed, sure, but it seemed like a few years ago, bankruptcies were limited to the very rich and very smart, or the very poor, and down on their luck, not your average joe.  Most people, it seemed to me, just paid their dues, and made the best of life.  Sure, there were people who were down on their luck now and then, there always have been, but not like now.  Now, it seems like it's all a game.  Even people who can afford their bills are trying to get out of paying them.  Why should I have to pay my whole credit card bill, when Joe Shmoe down the street settled his debt for .10 on the dollar?  Why should I stay in the home I bought two years ago, when I can walk away from it, let it go back to the bank, and buy a much nicer, much newer home for less money?  Why am I allowing myself to get taken advantage of when the bank is screwing me?  It has just become the new normal way of thinking.  Now, please don't get me wrong.  I know there are people who are hurting, who are down on their luck, heck, we have been there for the last year.  When the funeral home stopped paying altogether, and our store idea bombed, we found ourselves at the end of our savings, and the end of our rope.  We have had to sell our cars, our boat, our house, just to pay bills and make ends meet and keep ourselves OUT of bankruptcy (barely).  This isn't what I'm talking about, (so please don't be offended, or write me mean emails).  I'm talking about people who are purposefully taking advantage of the system. People who can afford to pay their bills, but won't.  People who can afford to pay their mortgage, but quit.  People who run up debt purposefully, then declare bankruptcy, laughing all the way to the bank. People who buy a business, run it into the ground, and screw other people in the process...get my drift?  
I was listening to Dave Ramsey (LOVE him--his website is HERE) on the radio the other night talk to someone who was complaining of this very thing:
"Dave, my neighborhood has gone to crap.  Half of the homes are vacant, the other half have sold for a fraction of what I bought my house for.  I could walk away from my home, and buy a newer, nicer one down the street for half of what I owe on this house, so am I just a CHUMP for staying here and paying my mortgage every month on a home that's worth half?  Isn't it the bank that's getting the last laugh?"
I was surprised when I heard what Dave had to say to this man: 
"Sure, you could move out of your house and let it go back to the bank, but when you signed those papers, didn't you think your home was worth what you said you would pay for it?" 
Man says, "Well, yes, but then..." 
"No, did you think it was worth it or not?  Can you afford to pay your mortgage?" 
"Yes."
"Are you a Christian sir?"
"Yes."
"So you have morals, and values, and one of those values is integrity, right?"
"Yes, but..."
"But nothing.  If you have morals, and values, and integrity, you do not sell your soul.  You keep your promises.  You keep your promises to God, and that, sir, means you keep your promises to the bank, if at all possible.  It doesn't matter what everyone else is doing.  It doesn't matter what other people think.  What matters, is that when you meet your Maker, you can say to Him, "I kept my promises.  I had integrity.  I tried to be like my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ."  That, sir, will be the only thing that matters."
Wow.  I was speechless. Now if only Dave Ramsey could have a that same talk with a few certain people that I know...hmmm.
Tomorrow, we go to court for the first time since filing the lawsuit 9 months ago, against the people that bought our funeral home, and never paid us what they owed for it.  9 months. When we started this process, I sincerely thought it would work itself out in 2 or 3 months tops.  Surely, it wouldn't be hard to get the business back, or at least start taking stuff back to pay the debt owed.  Surely, in such a cut and dry case, with such a well written contract, this would be simple.  Well, welcome to the American way of justice.  What a slow, painful, agonizing, ridiculously expensive, crazy process.  We have had letter after letter, deadline after deadline, bill after bill, and now finally 9 months later, we aren't even to the trial part yet--just going in for a summary judgement, where the lawyers get to argue to the judge for 30 minutes on why the case shouldn't have to go any further--but the judge should just decide.  30 minutes.  A crap shoot really, a roll of the dice, but it's worth a try.  Our lawyer actually told us, "It's just a lawyer thing, really.  You don't really need to come, but you can if you would like to."  Really?  After 9 months of waiting for something--anything to happen, I'm supposed to just sit home and hope my lawyer does a good job, without seeing it for myself?  I'm just anxious to hear someone actually TALKING to a judge instead of sending an email or a letter!  Yep, we'll be there.  It would be nice if that was all it took--but I'm convinced that we still have a long fight ahead, and I hope I'm ready to fight it.  We wish we didn't have to, but when you have a society, that has lost the meaning of morals, and values, and integrity, you have to have hope that somehow, justice will come down on the right side of things. We are hoping for the best, and crossing our fingers that someone, anyone, still knows the meaning of "integrity".  Yikes...wish us luck--we sure need it!  I never have been that good at games...

1 comment:

ed said...

Tami. I love you. This was just what I needed to be reminded of today. That I am trying to honor commitments I made and not matter what so-and-so are doing and no matter how easy it looks to quit fighting, I know what we are fighting to do is the right thing. Easy doesn't always equal right. Thanks for being who you are.

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