Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Moving Forward

This is what keeps us moving forward. Slowly, painstakingly, advancing toward the unknown. I do get it - that essentially all of us are doing the same thing. Some of us have a better plan. Some have more security. Some, like us, seem to be Tom Hanks drifting on a raft in the middle of the ocean watching Wilson float away.

For as much as we are thankful for what we do have the holidays have become an annual reminder of the difficult journey we've been on and what we continue to face. And for as many things that we probably could've handled differently there have been plenty out of our control. You know most of the story of Ben and have an idea of the many obstacles put before us. What you don't know is how we as a family, my mom included, chose to "do the right thing" when we "sold" our business a little over four years ago.

It's a very long complicated story that I just don't have the energy to invest in right now. Ultimately we made a choice to pay off our creditors and walk away with debt up to our eyeballs rather than bankrupt the business and leave our suppliers with write-off losses. They lawyers and financial advisers wanted us to do otherwise but they didn't have to live with the decision.

Four years later that debt has accumulated. Part of that has to do with me jumping into this art business headfirst. Part of it has to do with what happened at Holden Beach at the end of this show season. A lot of it has to do with caring for a special needs loved one.

At the moment I am pursuing any and every opportunity for a work-at-home job. So far that means running into lots of walls. Evidently they are few and far between. We have cut back on everything we can think of. I haven't cooked so many dinners and meals since I was a bachelor.

Our house looks like shit. It needs painting (irony?). The siding has given up trying to stay attached to our home - obviously it knows what we know and is attempting escape. We can feel the cold wind through our front windows - we have some very fat and happy carpenter bees to thank for that. And all of that doesn't include what needs to be done to make life more comfortable in Ben's living area. We were hopeful for some one-time Medicaid dollars to help us with that but the fat cats on Wall Street put a hold on state spending here in South Carolina. Instead of flipping this house I'd rather flip it off.

And despite the possibility of personal bankruptcy, losing our home, and our uncertain financial security in the coming months I look at Ben's smile as he continues to face his challenges. I so admire him for his ability to laugh at what he knows to be difficult. Incredibly and sadly Jessie and I even watched Ben "suffer" through an intense laughing seizure a few hours after this video was shot.

So what do we do? I'll be honest and say I don't really know anymore. I want to think that our lot in life will improve one day, that God or Lady Luck or whoever in in charge will finally cut us a break. I so very much want to think that but it's getting more difficult as each day passes. Joan can honestly say that she gave up a while back. Maybe that is what hurts me the most - not providing what my family needs.


Anonymous said...

(((Bennie))) I'm holding your family close in my heart and storming the Heavens with prayers. Thanks for sharing another video of Ben..he always puts a smile on my face! ;) Sorry to hear about his seizure though. I hope you can feel the prayers being said for your family and that they lift you up when you need them the most. Hang in there, with love and HOPE.


Christina said...

Bitch away! I am sorry that your family is in this situation.

Anonymous said...

Hi Bennie,
hugs to all of you - wish I had the means to pull you all out of it...
In the meantime, perhaps it would be a good idea to have your family nominated on the extreme makeover home edition on abc. Perhaps all of us here on your blog could send in something for you, that would get their attention. It sounds like you all really could use a break from "normal" life right about now. Let me know if there is something I can do (besides getting rich and giving you half - I tried the getting rich thing, and was quite unsuccessful. Half of zilch still makes zilch at the moment.) :o)

Peter Tögel said...

James 1:2-4

Gretchen said...

I vote for EHM too! I'll be a character witness or whatever!!!

Jim and I were dreaming of when we won the lotto how we were going to set up a fund for Ben and let you go do your art.

Love this video--he truly enjoyed every bit of that shaving cream, didn't he?

Feel free to unload on us any time--by phone, email or whatever. You DO provide. Never think that. You provide in ways many never get. Hang in there, friend.

flutter said...

anything you need, anytime.

Kyla said...

Oh Bennie! I'm so sorry. Sometimes it seems like there is a cosmic bullseye on your backside, doesn't it?

cmhl said...

this probably sounds crazy-- but wonder if you could increase business by doing give-aways? By that, you know some of the "big" bloggers do giveaways-- where people enter to win things made by other people. In exchange for donating something-- you get LOTS of exposure. some others here might know about who to check with, I know I see this kind of thing on 5 minutes for mom, seriously so blessed, the mommy blog, etc. Exposure...

Anonymous said...

I also vote for Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.

In case you haven't come across it yet, is a good site to find legit work at home opportunities. There is no promise of getting rich but at least there might be a few things worth looking into to help supplement your income.

As a side note, Ben's smile is infectious!

Good luck and I (as always) will be keeping your family in my thoughts.

Ben and Bennie said...

Everybody, thanks for the ideas and more importantly the support. The mood is better today. I'm thinking because it's 70 degrees here and I wore sandals to buy groceries.

Mama Deb said...

I was thinking of Extreme Home Makeover too.
Bless you guys for all that you endure every single day. We all have our burdens to bear--especially those of us who parent children with special needs--but you guys have shouldered way more than your share of shit.
Wishing you a happy holiday season and more than a little bit of luck to go along with it.

kimmyk said...

eventually the tides have to change.

good things come to those who wait?


it'll all be a distant memory before long...i just know it.

sending prayers and good vibes your way my friend!