Thursday, October 20, 2011

A Time for Everything: Killed By a Bank

My family’s business folded this week, 40-some years after my father and mother started it from scratch and built it into a small company that employed 40 people. It’s now in the hands of a large bank that received $316 million in bailout funds from U.S. taxpayers in 2008. The bank demanded large payments on principal that the small business, struggling through the economic times, couldn’t make. The bank received grace from the American people in its hour of need. The bank did not give back the same grace. There's a parable in the Bible about such things.

It’s been a sad day, and it’s been a challenge to quell the little bursts of bitterness. I took flowers to my mother’s grave and sat on the grass beside her headstone as the sun lowered in the sky. I could hear her voice in the distance saying, “For everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven.”

My mother loved the Bible, and it was among the last books she could read before Alzheimers disease took away her words. She raised up her kids in church and planted a lifelong reverence for God in us. The Bible verses I learned in my youth come back to me at times when I need to be reminded that life has an eternal value.

Pain is a good teacher. I’ve been driven to my knees in pain, and come away from it stronger, kinder, more forgiving. We all need so much grace in this life and we find it hard to give. We keep getting lessons in grace because we have poor memories, I think. I keep learning about forgiveness all over again.

I came home Wednesday and laid down on my bed and let the memories of my father and mother’s business play through my mind. Many of them come from long ago but they rolled out vivid and textured, beautiful in their way. I prayed for my brothers and others whose livelihoods are affected, and then I went to an AA meeting, where the topic was gratitude. I looked up the verse from Ecclesiastes that had come to me at Mom’s grave. I was reminded that in the end, the best we can do is enjoy our labor and do good in our lives, and be grateful for the gift.

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
What profit has he that works in that in which he labors?
I have seen the task, which God has given to the sons of men to be occupied in it.
He has made every thing beautiful in its time: also he has put eternity in men's hearts, so that no man can find out the work that God does from the beginning to the end.
I know that there is no good in them, but for a man to rejoice, and to do good in his life.
And also that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labor, for it is the gift of God.


Lou said...

We get what we give..I truly believe it. Over their lifetimes, your parents most surely impacted so many, who in turn gave back to others because of what had been given to them.

Today, I want to be near others who believe in conscious living and in our inherent connectivity.

That verse has withstood all the greed and evil in the world. For a very, very long time. That should tell us something about the truth of the Bible.

Anonymous said...

My heart breaks for you and your family and all the employees of the business.

This speaks to me on such a deep level. I recognize the years of hard work and sacrifice that went into this enterprise. So many lives are affected.

I pray for all who are affected by this. I'm so sorry.

TechnoBabe said...

What a shame. You say it like it is about the banks.

The Bug said...

Another story of corporate greed & personal tragedy. I'm so sorry for your family & the employees of the business. But your mother's words are wise. This is a time to mourn, bu the time to dance will come.

Brian Miller said...


ugh...i wont rail against the present system of banking and government...i am sorry for the loss of the business and the memories you have attached to it...

Monkey Man said...

turn, turn, turn

Argent said...

A shame the bank could not be more lenient - especially after it had almost certainly been saved by some of the very tax money generated by your family business. Your thoughts on this and adversity in general are very timely and well put. Thanks.

Always smiling said...

How very sad for you and your family... hard to accept.

Have faith


izzy said...

That is sad. However, maybe someone will take something from it and build

Gwil W said...

It's because of cases like this that demonstrations like OWS are taking place in more than 900 cities around the world. I was just watching the LSX demo in London on ReelTV. There were several children, aged under 10, who already knew very much about the crimes of banks.

The gloating champagne swilling greedsters I saw on the NY stock exchange balcony and their ilk will have to answer one day ... this is a universal law. They and their kith and kin, and their friends in the weapons industry, will pay for what their sins. Mark my words.

Syd said...

I am so sorry Chris. There are so many people who have lost their dreams and hard work in these tough times. But the corporate greed is hard for me to take. I seem them as never knowing when enough is enough.