Friday, March 26, 2010

Hope in the midst of rubble

It seems ironic that when I have time and energy I am just too busy to be creative; be it writing or drawing/painting. Here I lay in bed from overworking myself and not sleeping enough in a condition called “under the weather.” So now I rest without thinking of million things that I must accomplish on my day off. My job is just to rest so that I can get back to “too busy to find time” life.

(names are changed yet stories are factual )
Hope is all around us....

In Plymouth I see Melinda. I love to work with her. She is so lively. Yet she has shadow in her life that hung heavy continually. She is surviving in loveless marriage and trying to uphold 2 very difficult teenagers through life. She just went through a major female surgery with out any insurance. Her income is very minimal and her husband is stuck in a job he hates, yet due to the down turn of economy his options are nil. She says it will take rest of her life to pay back her medical bill. After listening to update on her life I asked her what is going on with others. I have not been to Plymouth pharmacy for almost a year. She said, “JaeHi, something happened in my life. My surgery is nothing compared to this. Are you ready for this?” I was wondering what could be so dramatic. Could she be telling me that she is getting divorced? I said, “Tell me!”

End of November I got a call from Andrew. He is my half brother that I have not seen since he was a small boy. My dad left me when I was two and I visited him when I was eight. And that was the last time. I always felt that he left us because I did something wrong. Maybe I was bad, maybe I was a girl and he did not like girls. I felt so alone with the feeling that I don't belong to anyone.
My dad died and my three brothers really really wanted to tell me this. It took them some time to actually find me. When I heard I knew that I had to be there for funeral no matter what. My family met my brothers, their wives and children. I cried. Within those few days I felt like I found my family. I loved them. I love their wives and children. It was like as if I always knew them. My sister in laws would tell me that so many of my motions and speaking is just like their husbands'. Amazing! We have same father but different mothers. Since November we have gone back and forth five times and it is five and half hours of drive each way (it's only been 4 months since we discovered each other).

I asked “Did this restore your relationship with your husband?”

Yes, yes. My brothers and my hubby are like peas in a pod. They love same hobbies, they have same interests. My husband loves my brothers. We are planning to move to Illinois soon to be near them. For me if I get upset with my husband I could call my sister-in-law and I could empty out my anguish.


Last Thursday in the art studio at Goshen Painter's Guild I was moved by Yvett's story. She owned a very successful catering business at one time. Her company supplied lunch and snacks for many factories around Goshen. It was a booming business. She had over a dozen hot food delivery trucks. Now most of them are just sitting at their parking lot now. She will not sell them. She said she will get about a dime on a dollar if she wanted to sell. She was going through a very difficult time. Now she was supplying lunches for few factories and they were eliminating work force regularly. Bad economy has swallowed up what used to be booming factories. Her husband who was a critical part of the catering business had to move to Denver for a job opportunity. I also knew that for over a year that she did not collect any salary for herself from her company.I asked her how she was doing. What followed was not what I expected.

My crew came to me some time ago. They knew that I did not want to lay them off and that I would prefer to close my business. They wanted 30% pay cut until the business can stand on its own. A year ago I did have to lay off one person. They had a meeting amongst themselves. They all decided Sonya will be laid off. She is only person who still has a husband who has a job. All the others' spouses were laid off from their jobs. Sonja volunteered to be laid off. But last week I was able to bring her back to work. I always had Profit/Loss statement posted so everyone could see how we were doing. My girls are so conscientious about saving every penny. Whether it is heating, electricity, or whatever they are overly careful. My janitor, you should see how he tries to save money for the company.