“I don’t know why I’m losing my cool so often”, Stephen said as he apologized to his girlfriend Tasha. “I never use to be like this this, I’m even waking up angry.” Stephen was apologizing for some comments he had made the night before as the two tried working things out over the past due bills they were looking at. Not too long ago Stephen could surprise Tasha with a small gift or even spoil himself with something he had been wanting. Those days seem to be gone now; every dime goes toward keeping their bills paid. All it took was one week and everything changed for this couple. Stephen twisted his ankle while running their dog in the park and had to be off work while it healed. One week made the difference between being ahead and falling behind in their finances.
This story is spoken quite often these days. Those who were one paycheck ahead of their financial obligations are now behind because of some emergency. As I looked into Stephen’s situation I became acquainted with two people who were working minimum wage jobs, renting a two bedroom apartment, and sharing one car. They weren’t living beyond their means, instead just enjoying what they had. As we spoke they kept talking about how good things were and how they are now. It was good that they came in when they did; they still had a roof over their head and a car to drive. But, many of the small splurges they had purchased for each other were now at the pawn shop adding to the stressful reminders of the changed times.
I often think of that first day I met this couple. Each one kept looking at the other as if they had lost someone or something very dear to them. As we were talking about assistances the MAX program could offer in their situation I kept feeling as though we should be focusing on something else. We should be talking about what they were mourning, was what my heart was saying. When the right time came in the conversation I tested the waters, “what is it you guys are missing the most,” I asked. We had talked about all the physical possessions they had sacrificed but there was something they had not talked about. Tasha was the first to speak, “this worry is changing our relationship, we argue more.” As she finished her words I could see the tears swelling up. Stephen acknowledged that he had been very short tempered over the bills feeling as if his injury caused the whole situation and he had let Tasha down. There it was again, that look that was asking to go back to the way things were.
What if I could help you retrieve that peace you once had, would that help? The two of them grinned and acknowledged their willingness to listen. Our conversation from that point on shifted toward finding a solution for their financial situation that would create peace. The couple agreed to quit beating themselves up over how they got to where they were and would become proactive in their bill paying. We were able to contact the power company and get them started on a payment agreement toward catching up their past due balance. The water department granted them an extension which along with our assistance from MAX they caught that bill up. We even contacted their landlord and explained their situation. He was very gracious in his understanding and allowed Stephen to do some odd jobs around the building to work off some of the past due rent. They now had a plan and were on their way toward finding that place they were missing in their life.
Peace is often the greatest casualty of financial distress. Setting goals, being creative, speaking to those you own money too, are just some of the ways of bring peace back to the situation. Without a plan, well it’s like a ship without a rudder, every wind that comes along can remind you that you are out of control. Where’s the peace in that? The MAX program is designed toward assisting those who are experiencing these financial emergencies in life. Emergencies rob people of their peace. Working together, you and our trained volunteers, will do our best toward restoring peace in your life.
Peace be with you always
MAX coordinator for Dove Inc.
Pastabiliites Resturant in downtown Decatur, Tuesday night - 10th, 5-8p, you can dine at this wonderful family owned resturant and 20% of your pre-tax bill will be given to MAX. Check the website for the needed flyer www.doveinc.org A delicious way for you to help many area families in need.