Do you know that song by Martina McBride titled “Anyway?”
In the very first verse of the song she says this:
“You can spend your whole life building
Something from nothin’
One storm can come and blow it all away
Build it anyway”
On Life and Making Lemonade
My husband graduated from college and spent 6 years in the Air Force. Then we settled down in my home town to raise our family and he went to work as an engineer for a large company. We raised 3 boys.
I began a business. We invested and began preparing for the day that we could retire. We seemed to be on the right track as a couple and a family.
But despite our best laid plans, life brought us some lemons. Our lives changed in directions for which we had not planned:
- We did not expect that my husband would lose his job after 15 yrs
- I did not anticipate that my business would begin to lose money
- We did not know that our son would cost us everything that we had worked for (at least as far as the things of the world are concerned.)
Lemons, Lemons, and More Lemons
Our youngest son became involved in drug and alcohol abuse. He spent 4 years going to jail, hospitals, and rehab. There were about 3 years that I did not sleep through the night in anticipation of a phone call from the police. I was never sure if they would want us to pick him up or identify his body.
To say the least, these were very difficult years for our family!
The courts held us financially responsible for the crimes that our son committed while he was a minor child.
- We paid fees, restitution and hospital bills
- We paid for couple of rehabilitation periods
- We suffered emotionally, mentally, and career-wise
Because of the time away from work for court and family rehab sessions, my husband’s work performance decreased. When it came time for layoffs at his workplace, he was on the list. When he lost his job, we lost our ability to pay for our home. My business began to fail and our property investments no longer rented for enough to pay the mortgage.
As a result, we lost 2 properties, our home, and my business. We continued to fight to save our son. My husband finally found a job in a different state and he relocated. I had to remain where I was to close my business, sell the properties, and be with my son who was not finished with school.
On Making That Lemonade
Over time, my son finally completed his GED and got a good job. It took all the worldly possessions that we had, but our son is alive, healthy, drug free, and working.
After 18 months I was able to join my husband in our new home. I had to start over. He had to start over. I won’t lie, it was the most difficult time of our marriage. We became stronger than ever as a couple by pulling together for the sake of our family.
Although we were financially ruined, I can say with all the confidence in the world this:
“Losing your fortune is not that big a deal. After all, it is just money. You can get more of that.”
There is no battle more worth fighting that the battle to save a child. There is no amount of money that could change my opinion on the financial, emotional, and family decisions that we made. In fact, I would do it all over again for what we gained.
Keep Trying. It’s Worth It All
Now it is time to start building again.
Did I hesitate to start over?
Did I fear the idea of losing again?
You better believe it.
Is it going to be painful and difficult?
You better believe that, too!
Did it stop me?
There is nothing more painful than the thought of losing a child. Losing “stuff,” well that was easy by comparison. Your true success lies in what you put your hope in.
So, what sort of life-altering challenges have you faced that you were able to overcome? How did that build your character, your family, your relationships, or your business? Are you facing something now and need encouragement? If so, please connect with me and I think I can offer some sound personal advice. I would love to help.
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Filed under: Authentic Leadership, Emotionally Intelligent Leadership, Leading Change, Servant Leadership | Tagged: business, decision making, emotional intelligence, Leadership Development, trust | 6 Comments »