A~ and I were talking last night about where we see ourselves in ten years? What do we want to be doing and how do we see ourselves living at that point? It got me to thinking about how arrogant we can sometimes seems as people to assume we can plan how our lives will play out. For that matter, how do we even know that whatever plans we come up with will ever materialize? The world is so unstable right now, so much change pending. Why even bother to plan?
About a year and a half ago, A~ and I looked very seriously into securing for ourselves a home equity loan. It was one of those things that we thought about doing because there were some home renovation & upgrade things that we wanted to accomplish and like pretty much everyone else, we were experiencing that most American of all emotions, Impatience. We talked to our lender, gathered the specifics of rates, fees etc, and took a hard look at what we wanted to get done and what it would cost us? We made our lists, discussed it at great length and finally decided to proceed; but not without some, however small it might have been, sense of unease. We had always said that that was one thing we didn’t want to do. I went to the signing, talked with the “closer” and read everything that went across the desk for me to sign. It was then I found a small chunk of text, what could easily be classified as “fine print”, and stopped to ask questions. The text, in the indiscernible language of the legal profession, seemed to say that I would be charged a regular fee of, I believe $75.00, for any year that my average indebtedness fell below $20,000. What? “Excuse me, can you please explain this to me?” I asked the smiling woman in the huge gold bobble necklace and garish polyester pant suit that was persistently offering sodas and warm from the oven chocolate chip cookies. “Which part? Oh yes, that’s just a maintenance fee that we assess against the account for any periods that the average is below $20,000. It’s a pretty standard feature of this type of loan…” she replies assuringly. I try to process this through my admittedly limited legal filter and followed up, “So, if I take a small loan, and then pay it off in say, six months, then I’ll be charged $75.00 for basically not being in debt enough?” The long and the short of it came down to a yes; I would have basically been charged for the right to have the account open, or in other words for the right to borrow their money and pay them interest. Not for borrowing the money mind you, just for the right to potentially borrow it. I stopped right there, mid-signing, and told the now not quite so smiley woman that I was going to need to think it over through the weekend. By that evening we had already figured out that this was some kind of divine clue that we weren’t paying attention to our gut and were about to make a mistake. We listed this time and didn’t get the loan.
Today, in the tightening economics of the world, when our dollars are already being stretched as far as we “think” they can be stretched. (That limit will no doubt be tested further in the future.) Having an extra debt, or even the costs of a potential debt, added to it could or would be a deal breaker, the straw that broke the back. With the clarity of retrospect I realize that all of the things that we had thought we needed to be indebted for ended up coming to fruition anyway, only through other avenues. Was it already meant to happen and we merely clued into that through some strange metaphysical phenomenon? Were we rewarded Karmicly for “making the right choice”? Who knows? Maybe it was just dumb luck, I believe in that. Either way we listened to our heart (in the long run) and were better off for it.
Back just a little further, a little over two years ago, I had thought about changing jobs. I interviewed with a couple of companies and got to a point where I was literally waiting to receive an offer from a company. I had interviewed my way through all the hoops that one must, and had done well I think. The day before I hoped to receive a call from them, Memorial Day ’06, I slammed hard at the skateboard park with my kids (Yes I said skateboard park. We are a skateboarding family like some are soccer families. I was ONLY 35 after all… it’s not like I was old or anything.) and broke both bones in my right arm, requiring two metal plates and 12 screws to be put in. This kind of freaked out the company that I had interviewed with and they said they had to wait to see how I healed and that they were concerned over potential future problems. The thing is, when I woke up from surgery, I found myself surrounded by everyone from work. I realized then, that they had come to be more than just people I worked with or for, they were friends and as much like family as I could imagine. Not long after the accident, I was back to work and contacted the company to let them know I was withdrawing my application and would be staying where I was. Today, I learned that that company is “right-sizing”. That’s down-sizing to you and me. I would most likely be sweating about whether I would be out of work or not right now had I not again listed to my heart.
So what’s the point of this whole history lesson? Nothing short of faith, that’s what. Faith that we’re doing the right things. Faith that we’ll be alright, faith that no matter what, we have friends and family who love us and whom we love and faith that if we follow our hearts and listen to that little voice inside we’ll find our way to the place where we’re meant to be. Sometimes I feel like a bit of an oddball; we do things differently in our home than most. But A~ and I have talked about everything we do, we’ve prayed for guidance and to be open to hearing the promptings around us and we have faith that we are on the right course. Take stock of your blessings whatever they are. Follow your heart and share yourself with others. It’s not a religion thing either, it’s a hope thing. As I said, I believe we are in a time of great change. I don’t know yet how great, but I do believe that the next ten years will deliver us to a much different place than we are in now and with that kind of change we’re liable to get a little anxious. Hope for a positive future can give us reason to continue at times that seem overwhelming, and faith in ourselves and those we chose to surround ourselves with can give us hope. Likewise, our caring and support can provide hope for others that may be in the middle of their own silent struggles.
I wish you all the best and want to thank you for letting me surround myself with you and for giving me a little hope today.