Three times in the same week! I had to rub my eyes in disbelief. Bankruptcies keep piling up. On three separate occasions in the past week, bankruptcies became front of mind. Not financial bankruptcies but bankruptcies of hope. Real life situations where the hope reserves ran out and there was no FHIC (Federal Hope Insurance Commission) waiting to make good on the overdrafted account. Real life situations where a good person became confused into thinking that money really does make the world go around.
At lunch on Monday, a friend, David, shared that he was headed out of town for a cousin's funeral. The cousin had recently lost his job and primary source of income. As a result, he had lost custody of the foster children he and his wife were caring for. A few days later, the wife found the man in the garage, with the car running, in an apparent suicide. A permanent solution to a temporary problem. A bankruptcy of hope.
Early Wednesday morning, Freddie Mac's acting chief financial officer, David Kellerman, apparently ended his own life by hanging himself on an exercise machine in his basement in suburban Washington, D.C. As acting CFO, Kellerman surely found himself in a pressure cooker situation, managing a staff of about 500 and being ultimately responsible for the company's financial controls and reporting. Kellerman, 41, had been with Freddie Mac for over 16 years, and left behind a wife and young daughter. A bankruptcy of hope.
Finally, I learned of a friend, Keith, who had secured a second mortgage on his home to maintain the family's lifestyle in a struggling economy and a challenging business situation. The added debt only made matters worse, as did the fact that he failed to share the family's worsening predicament with his wife. On Friday, he succumbed to the pressure and walked out. He packed a few things, dropped the keys on the kitchen counter, and left the family with a note that he was headed to Alaska and would not be back. Bankruptcy of hope.
How do you get to a situation in your own mind where the BEST solution is suicide or abandoning the family altogether? Again, these are permanent solutions to temporary problems. And poor solutions at that.
How do you prevent filing for a bankruptcy of hope? How do you keep your spirits strong even when the stock market tanks or your business collapses? My years as a pastor, and my own life experiences, have taught me three things to do to prevent ever arriving at a moment that dark.