On a Personal Note: A Lesson in Compassion
Well let's just dive in. I've been dealing with something for several months that is a constant stress in the back of my mind. We'll start with the gripe session (thanks in advance for listening) and then the unexpected lesson.
The short version is that I own a condo in Florida that I bought in my late 20's at the height of the market. The market then dropped and the value of my condo plummeted. I've spent the past 10+ years renting it out and waiting for the value to meet the amount owed so I could sell it. Last Fall, my renter stopped paying his rent and has been living in my condo rent-free. While we move through the very slow eviction process, I'm still paying the mortgage each month which is eating away at my savings. It's stressful and makes me sad that this is happening even though I've done everything right. It makes me angry that I've worked for years to get into a really good financial place and was FINALLY feeling really, really good about all of my financial "buckets" and this is ruining much of what I've worked towards.
This morning I was sitting at Starbucks catching up on the phone with one of my best friends who has had the most trying year of her life. Trust me when I tell you most people wouldn't be able to get out of bed most days if they had the year she has, but she gets up every day with a smile on her face and unending optimism and energy. I'm inspired by her.
I was confiding in her about my anger and stress with this renter situation. Feeling very sorry for myself. And then she said something that brought me to ugly tears in the middle of Starbucks:
"Try to have compassion for him. He obviously isn't in a good place in life and can't afford to pay rent. Maybe you didn't expect to be supporting him for a few months and maybe this isn't where you expected some of your money to go, but it will all be okay and maybe you're a blessing in his life right now."
Wow. In a moment of anger and self-pity, she was able to show me a perspective that I wasn't able to see on my own. I'm not making it okay. Dude needs to move out. But it immediately shifted my viewpoint. So as of now, I'm choosing to let go of anger and focus on the bigger picture and seek compassion for a person in need. Sometimes "giving" doesn't look like we expect it to. I'm incredibly blessed with an amazing job, excellent health, incredible friends, the undying love and support of my sweet family and the peace and strength that comes with my faith in God. So this is one little thing that stings. Life isn't always perfect. I'll be just fine. And I pray he will be, too.
Funny side note: looking for an image to go with this post, I put in the word "compassion" and an image of a compass was the first thing that came up. I like that. Compassion is the new direction I'm choosing.