Changing The System

I have had two periods of major financial difficulty in my life. One was right after kundalini when I was pretty much unable to work or to function normally at any level. The other was after my divorce from Jim when I was taking care of my mother and her end-of-life affairs. My income dropped precipitously in both these periods because I was unable to work enough hours to produce the income I needed.

In that first period of difficulty, bill collectors were calling, sending threatening letters, even coming to the door to try to bully me into giving them money. At first, I tried to avoid or dodge them. When their persistence began to be insulting, or they acted like I was stupid, or even belligerent, I began to stand up for myself and try to talk with them. Sometimes it came to an argument; sometimes I hung up on them if they became nasty. After all, you can’t get blood out of a stone.

One day, after many months of harassment, I snapped at one of the bill collectors and demanded that they stop calling unless they had something useful, helpful, or productive to offer. Then I hung up rather abruptly. When they called back a week or so later, they had an offer. They would cut the balance due in half if I would pay something on a regular basis. They wanted $25 a week, I offered them $2. That was a stretch for me, but I felt I could honor it. They agreed, cut the balance in half, and I began to pay my measly $2 every week. With a $1500 balance, I was looking at 750 weeks or 14 years of payments. However, within several months, I was able to increase it to $3 a week, then $5, then $10, and I kept increasing the amount until it was paid, long before the 14 years was up. Lesson #1 – don’t allow financial hacks to badger you. Stand up for yourself!

In the second period of difficulty, my accounts were at Consumers’ Credit Union. I thought they would be easy to work with if I ever got into trouble again. That was an illusion. They were not. When I did not have enough for my monthly mortgage payment, they simply froze all my accounts. I was furious. They made a difficult situation much worse than it needed to be. Lesson #2 – don’t have all your eggs in one basket. Open accounts at several banks.

The situation with Consumers’ was all the more maddening because I had tried to work with them in an upfront manner. I had called them, told them I was taking care of my mother 2-3 weeks out of the month, and was having difficulty making enough money to make the mortgage payment. I wanted them to move a couple of payments to the end of the contract, or perhaps allow me to pay interest only. They held all the cards and simply froze my accounts…two business accounts, one personal, and one savings.

The day I went into their office to deposit a check and discovered the accounts could not be accessed for any kind of transaction, I was stunned. I had the bank clerk call the mortgage division and get my ‘account handler’ on the line. He turned out to be a young, arrogant kid. I demanded that they unfreeze my accounts. He demanded that I bring my mortgage up to date. Voices rose. I was standing at the counter in the bank lobby and there were a half-dozen people in line behind me. I didn’t care. I ended up shouting at him, demanding to know how old he was. He said he was 21. I accused him of being a snot-nosed kid who didn’t have any experience in real life. I accused him of betraying my efforts to work with them, and then shouted, “Your day is coming, my friend. You are gonna get into difficulty with money somewhere along the line because that is the way life works and you have to make hard choices. You’re gonna be in financial difficulty someday and I hope you remember this moment because I’m not going to abandon my mother just to make some stupid mortgage payment. In fact, you can take your payment schedule and shove it!”

I nearly threw the phone back at the clerk, gathered my purse and papers, and stalked out of the credit union. A few people were appalled, but one guy in line was clapping. I was too angry to care what anyone thought.

The next day, I hauled myself and my aging mother to the credit union corporate offices. I asked to see the head of the mortgage division. Surprisingly, he and his second in command came out to greet me. I explained that I wanted to work with them, that I wasn’t going to abandon my mother, I wasn’t going to abandon my obligation to make mortgage payments, and challenged them to come up with something that we could both live with.

They patiently explained that they had rules. I pointed out that the rules were man-made and could be adjusted at their discretion. There was quite a bit of polite argument going back and forth. In the end, they said they would not harass me if I would just not go 90 days overdue. At 90 days, their rules required that they initiate foreclosure proceedings. They said I would get one call each month to ‘remind’ me about the payment and ask if I was going to make it. They said they would appreciate a true answer from me so they would know what was happening at my end. I honored my end, even though my credit score dropped into the toilet, something that upset me tremendously. Lesson #3 – Don’t let your anger with the system run away with you and don’t back down. Do your best to work something out and then honor the agreement. That agreement can always be changed as needed. Both sides have to give a little.

The young man assigned to me started out calling as agreed. He was a little snippy at first. At my end of things, a series of miracles was happening. My ex-husband made a couple of payments. An elderly couple I knew asked me how I was doing with my farm. I said I was probably going to lose it. I explained that I was two months behind with the mortgage. They called back the next day and said they wanted to give me the money to catch up. After an excruciating debate within myself, I swallowed my pride and took it. My brother-in-law came along and gave me the payment for another two months. Then someone else offered to make a payment. Then a client who had died left me enough money for another couple of payments. Then another gift, and another… Lesson #4 Believe in miracles and the goodness of people who care about you.

Every month for 19 months, a small miracle happened. I never knew where the money was going to come from. Usually it came in at the last moment. One month when my financial handler called to ask me if I was going to make the payment, I said I didn’t know. He then launched into a high-nosed lecture about needing to honor my debts. I interrupted him loudly.

“Look, my friend, I have not been making the payments for my mortgage. Someone else has been making the payment. Every month I panic, and every month that money comes in from somewhere. I never know where it’s coming from, so don’t bug me! The monthly miracle is coming…it’s just not here yet!” After that, each month when he called, he cheerfully asked, “Have we had our monthly miracle yet?” Lesson #5 – Know that the system is made of up real people who really want things to work out.

In January of 2013 my mother died and I was free to make more money. I caught up with the mortgage and have been doing fine ever since. I have never regretted the time spent with my mother. If it had been up to me, I would have had her live for years longer than she did. Evidently, 86 years was enough for her.

There are so many issues in our face these days. There’s the election circus, of course, and then the Monsanto monster, the factory food fiction, the vaccination outrage, the chemtrail catastrophe, the pharmaceutical deceptions, the financial manipulations, the façade of democracy, the educational disaster…and many others.

You cannot expect the system to change to something you want it to be unless you take a stand regarding those issues that affect you directly and personally. This is how a system changes. You are not helpless, so don’t act as if you are. There ARE lessons to be learned on all sides, but each lesson learned benefits all of us. Corporations are not distant, impersonal, inflexible structures. Changing a corporation is painfully slow work, but it must be done…and the most powerful change does not come through the courts, it comes through one-at-a-time-face-to-face interaction. Just remember this: Corporations are characterized by intelligent people who go to work in them to make a living – the same thing you are trying to do – and who want to make things work. Act as if you are dealing with a human who is listening, whose consciousness can be raised, and who may report your input at some future meeting being held to make corporate operations smoother. You just might learn that we are all trying to make life easier and better for ourselves.

7 thoughts on “Changing The System

  1. Great Article! hardships can really teach us how to navigate the “System” been there too..Life lessons got to love them ;)…Thank you Penny..I found some great tips

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