Tuesday, September 18, 2007

More September Woes

I'm trying to remember what started this whirlwind of drama this month and I couldn't even begin to tell you. I'll just say that I'm awful glad that this month is more than half over. I was reading a friend's blog yesterday and she described a beautiful city scene...one that made me go out today and take a look at Baltimore with new eyes. I was appreciating the rush, the individuality, the candor. I was falling in love with what I enjoy about city living all over again. And then I was reminded of the other side of life in the heart of the city...just that quickly.

Today was hectic from the very beginning. I came into work thinking that I was making a trip to Philadelphia to have one of my newer borrowers sign paperwork. We can always send fedex, but my manager believes that when you sit down with a borrower and they can put a face to a name, it gives them a reason to send you referrals. And so far, he has been absolutely right. So, for the cause - I was driving to Philly. But then he canceled because of a "supposed" dentist appointment. Sometime between a coworker of mine passing out, the ambulance arriving, my borrower calling back to say he canceled his dentist appointment so please still come and the phone calls and faxes - I knew the day was taking me places that I wasn't quite sure I was ready for.

Now I have to go back to Sunday for a moment. My family and bff were watching the Colts pull a win over the Titans when this random man just looked in my living room window and asked for someone named Charles???? Seriously??? Who is Charles? I've lived on the block for going on two years now and never met a Charles. And since when did knocking on the door become obsolete? Regardless, we went back to watching the game, but something about his presence at my window made me incredibly uneasy. I became increasingly more concerned as I watched him walk by the window four more times. Finally, my Uncle went to the front door to let him know with some finality that he had the wrong house and he needed to move it along. I was nervous.

The week before, I went to take the garbage out and the lock on my back wooden gate was just GONE? Not broken...not bent...GONE? HUH? Who takes locks? Whatever.

Two days ago my next door neighbor was changing his locks.

I left work and stopped by my house to change my clothes and pick up driving music, I was on my way to pick up my bff who was taking the trip with me. When I got to the door my Uncle told me that the office called. Surprise, surprise..Mr. Redwine canceled again. Seriously?? OK. I'm not driving to Philadelphia tomorrow. We are fedexing the paperwork, I'm completely done with that. Since I had some time on my hands and hand't technically eaten lunch I figured Takiyah and I could run downtown (ahh city living) and grab a quick bite before I went back to the office.

Unfortunately we realized when it was too late that Babalu's was a Cuban restaurant (Takiyah hates any food with Latin or Spanish influence...especially after our accident labor day weekend - go figure!) We made the best of it, just laughed at the pictures of Ricky Ricardo on the wall and the attempt at bread pudding. It was awful!! Walking back to the car the cell phone rang. Granny. Break-In. Police. Hurry Home. Seriously??

I got back to my house to find EVERYTHING in tact. Nothing missing, no one hurt. Apparently after I left to eat my grandmother and uncle left to run errands. The person asking for Charles had been staking out my house and my neighbors (yup those same neighbors) caught him and two of his cronies on my back porch trying to break into my house. People still burglarize? Like actually take things that don't belong to them? That is so early 90's! My Uncle defending the homefront found the guilty party and put a scare into him. I don't think they'll be coming back. But these same delirious three, had the nerve to walk back through the block after being LET GO by the police. That's right. I said LET GO. Apparently, an arrest can not be made unless they are caught INSIDE the house. So, I would have to walk downstairs mid robbery and risk my life in order for someone to be prosecuted. Cute. Once again, Baltimore's finest to the rescue!

I probably shouldn't be so smug. Nothing was taken and no one was hurt. But I am growing numb at this point. And I really am much to afraid to ask what else could go wrong?! I'm just going to be thankful that the Lord is my Shepard. I'm going to keep on believing that he has all things in his care. It seems that after I acknowledged that God is in control, he is doing all he can to test me to ensure that I won't change my mind. I won't. Whatever happens, I'm still alright. Still here to tell about it. And there's always a positive. At least my Uncle was here to help, I would've been scared to pieces to be in here all by myself tonight. But the fam is here and my neighbors were there to make lots of calls to the police in time. So thank you Lord that everything ended as safely as it did, I'm definitely NOT being ungrateful.

But still, I really could stand to have a boring October...Seriously.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Happy Trails...

Let me set the scene. It's labor day weekend, I'm not flat broke and me and my best friend have just won a pretty decent game of spades. I'm feeling pretty ok. There's a little bit of drama with the neighbors. Somebody had too much to drink and she done said something out the way to somebody else and it is FUNNY! 'Cause there is nothing wrong with a little bit of drama, as long as it's not MINE. I'm working out some of the question marks in my life, not with lightening speed, but I'm seeing the gray of the silver lining. Not too much more one can ask for right about now. And then....

Just when I think I'm doing really well. I'm looking and listening and maybe doing a really great job of figuring out some of the life lessons that the Lord is trying to teach me, this happens. I am so NOT ready for this. Anything but this. I mean, I really do deserve a break here. A lot has been going on and I've been keeping my head up, not giving up, listening and learning, pushing forward..all the things that I'm supposed to be doing and THIS!!! SERIOUSLY!!! After everything else...are you sure God that you don't have me mixed up with the knucklehead across the street?

We're sitting at a red light on my way to drop my bff off...in Coors (her Silver Infinit I35 - yes it's sweet), see I'm keeping the car tonight..carpooling...isn't it wonderful. And I would love to tell you that we're carpooling to save money on gas because we are just that economically conscience but the truth is we're carpooling because Hope (my indigo blue Passat) is sitting in a garage in Rockville waiting for me to finish paying for the new ENGINE it needs and Coors is my designated ride these days. So, all things considered - the state of the industry, the state of my car, and the state of my savings, I am doing all I can to stay festive. Back to the story.

We are sitting at a red light when I hear this screeching noise that sent my neighbors (still in mid drama) running around the corner to our red light. Takiyah saw it before I did because she was driving and the vehicle approached on her side. Before we could do anything about it a dark blue pick up truck was sitting on top of our bumper. We realized too late obviously that the truck had zoomed around the corner ran into the car in front of us and not taking his foot off the gas crashed into us second. Lovely. I looked over at her and realizing that she wasn't hurt got completely pissed. We slowly got out of the car to figure out the state of the other drivers and our damaged machine-run babies. The drivers of the truck in front of us were shaken, but ok. Immediately and at the same time all of our attention turned to the reckless driver of the truck still sitting basically on top of our bumper. The front of the truck was leaking fluid (I'm not even gonna pretend to know which one) and my initial fear was to back up because his truck might blow (I know too much tv). But as I looked harder in the driver's side window at the driver it became all too clear that he was HEAVILY intoxicated. This man was RIDICULOUSLY INEBRIATED..DRUNK beyond measure and I would be all too surprised if he even spoke Engligh. Not to mention his use of an out of state tag strongly indicated that his extended stay in the US was probably not very legal.

He started to turn the key in the ignition to get the car to start, but his engine sputtered and spattered with no luck. He put his head down and then tried again with all his might. I looked at Takiyah confused at why he was so bent on starting the engine, it hadn't yet dawned on me that he was attempting a getaway. As he lowered his head and arm I backed away not sure what he was reaching for and not wanting to find out. I backed up and his engine started, he backed up and sped off. Sped off with one tire almost completely on it's side. As we speechlessly watched him bend the corner we all just looked at one another amazed, like we needed the expressions on the other faces to confirm for us that the craziness that our eyes had just seen was not a deceptive trick. My neighbors came running around the corner to make sure that we were alright and then handed us a cell phone to call the police.

Now. I would love to tell you that we were so concerned for each other's safety and happy to be alive that the last thing on our minds were the vehicles. I would love to tell you that I was Christian enough for my first sentence to be..." Thank God no one was hurt..."...nope. My first sentence was something like..."*&^%...a hit and run...SERIOUSLY!!!!". I was completely angry, not grateful, ANGRY. This is the only car that WE have right now and money had just been put into the car for a previous crisis. We didn't have money for this...RIGHT NOW??? We begrudgingly waited the hour for Baltimore's finest to come take the report as I recited the tag number over and over in my mind. I was upset, but I was no dummy. Your girl was of course smart enough to catch the tag number as he sped away. THAT DRUNK MEXICAN WAS GOING DOWN!!!!

Always the optimist, I had hope. I just knew that once the BCPD arrived, everything would be straightened out. I would give them the tag number and they would speed away to find the injured vehicle that obviously couldn't have gotten far so that we would have our justice. Wrapped up and tied with a bow, just like that. Even having watched a few episodes of The Wire I was still naively convinced that officers of the law would pat me on the shoulder for my "detective instincts" and adamantly pursue an arrest. HA!!

The officer arrived, scribbled a report, told us more than likely NOT to expect the driver to be found and basically sent us on our way. And that's it. That was our justice. SERIOUSLY!!

My reason for telling this story tonight is a little different. You see I am the queen of happy trails, outcomes or lessons that make the experience worthwhile. Not always welcome, just eventually tolerable. This happened last Saturday night and I didn't share then because I was waiting for my lesson. I figured, I have been through SOOO much else, this must have an incredibly deep and spiritual meaning, I just have to wait for it. I waited - no meaning, no lesson. I'm at a loss. I was sure that there was something deeper. I have to be missing something. Am I just ungrateful? Should the lesson be, "Life is short don't take it for granted.." or "Friends don't let friends drive drunk.."...or....what.. I don't get it this time. I guess I just have to wait. Or maybe sometimes life just SUCKS...

Nevertheless, the only happy trail that I have tonight is to the dark blue pick-up truck with Kansas tag XRU 636 who will more than likely never be caught. And that just really sucks.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Are you there God, It's Me...

I had the privilege of reading someone else's blog yesterday. Perusing her thoughts and experiencing life through her eyes. It was such a refreshing reminder that our journey is not one that was meant for us to experience alone. As I read her confessions I realized that at some point I had felt the emotions she was writing about and a lot of them were feelings and ideas that I was experiencing in my present.

Having my own issues and questions about how this thing called life is supposed to go is difficult sometimes. It's a good reminder that there are others who strive for greatness experiencing what we are. And it is even more rewarding to be reminded by someone else's hand of the mark of excellence that we strive for daily.

You see this week, I've been questiong AGAIN whether I am supposed to stick this mortgage slump out. It's been grueling and I think surely God does not want me to be this broke... And then I remember that when things were doing extremely well, I counted it a blessing to have found a career that was rewarding both monetarily and in seeing the fruits of my labor. So why then have I been doubting that this is not what I'm supposed to be doing. Surely, I knew when I began this journey that money could not be the sole benefit, because I was fully aware of the fluctuating income...feast or famine in this business. Sometimes a perk, sometimes a pain. I've been getting emails from friends who are moving on with their careers...some leaving the mortgage industry (even if temporarily) to find financial relief in the protection of a 9-5. And I've had mixed emotions. Sometimes thinking that it would be smart to jump ship, I'm still young..I could find something new and exciting and rewarding. But I'm not a quitter. I always end up feeling like I would ultimately be a failure for throwing away the almost 5 years that I've invested into this business. And I haven't come this far to give up now, declining subrpime market or not. So, there in lies my dilemma.

I've prayed and asked God to give me direction, to order my steps so that I am not foolishly staying in too long or hastily making a rash decision. I know where MY heart is, but I yearn to follow HIS heart..his perfect will for my life. While pondering what I think is the hugest and most urgent decision of my life, I am quietly reminded by the thoughts of others. That one, we are not in this alone and two, sometimes I need to be still and know that He is God. The answers I seek, he wishes for me to have. But after I pray I jump right up and expect I guess to be offered the next day an Exclusive Position with the United States Government that only I can fill with a ridiculously lucrative salary. RIGHT! Maybe I just need to be still and wait on the Lord. He will direct my path.

"time to not look back - to throw off any and everything that hinders and to run with all that I have toward that for which I have been created, called, and pre-destined.
time to chase the wind.

this storm... Jesus speaks and He says: Peace. Be still.
And there is stillness - even in motion. And there is peace, even in the knowledge of things to come."
-Finally Defined

When I read this yesterday I was comforted. Reminded by her words that our steps are ordained. That I need not be weary or faint, the Lord knows my heart and he will guide me in the direction that he wants me to take. Regardless of what is happening around me, of the jobs that others are taking or not, of the industry that economists say will take months to recuperate. I am privileged enough to have a Father who will ensure that I am ok. He promised me. I just have to believe in that promise.

I was reminded yesterday that we are all connected somehow, and God uses us as vessels to uplift each other. What a great responsibility we have to Him and to one another.