Lisa’s painful lesson

Photo by Rafael Barros on

I had a friend who “had it all”. Lisa (not her real name) was a stay-at-home mom while her husband Ron worked as a police officer. They enjoyed family dinners in their beautiful house, which was located in an upper-middle-class neighborhood with “good” schools. Her large SUV helped her to cart their three daughters to soccer practice and mermaid birthday parties. She was always dressed beautifully, accessorized by her Coach handbags, Tory Burch shoes, and perfect mani-pedis.

Then one day everything crashed down on her. She learned that Ron was involved in some felonious illegal activity. He was also having relations with other women and spending their life savings on this illegal ‘business’. As he was a police officer, his story was broadcast all over the local news.

After receiving not much more than a slap on the wrist, Ron ended up divorcing Lisa and abandoning their children. But only after he had drained what little they had left in their bank account. Their house was foreclosed on and their vehicles were repossessed. Lisa and the girls were left with nothing but the clothes on their backs. She had a garage sale every weekend just to raise money to feed her family. She sold all her furniture and spent evenings in the dark because their electricity had been turned off. Though she tried, Lisa wasn’t able to find work because she had spent over 15 years as a stay-at-home mom, and had never had a job or even a college degree.

I was talking to her one day at a neighborhood picnic, and asked how she was doing. She said that even though she was having a rough time, she was grateful that she still had her children. But she added something that has really stuck with me.

“I used to scoff at ‘those women’ you see at the checkouts who pull out food stamps from their designer handbags. But today I spent my day in line at the welfare assistance office with this” she said as she held up her Michael Kors leather purse. Lisa had become one of “those” women. “I will never judge another person again, because you really don’t know their backstory.”

A very tough life lesson for Lisa to learn, but I’m grateful she shared her story with me. The reasons I’m sharing it with you today…

We can learn so much from others. Lisa’s story affected me deeply – I have great empathy for her. Even though it was her experience, I learned from her painful lesson.

When you hit rock bottom, there is nowhere to go but up. I am happy to report that Lisa is doing very well for herself now – she has rebuilt her life with her girls and they are truly happy.

Most importantly, choose compassion over judgment. The next time you hear a news video, or see an article posted on social media, remember that there is another side to every story. You don’t have all the facts and you probably never will.

Also important – check your ego! If you feel the need to weigh in on the situation, ask yourself why you have this urge. Is it because you have a need to be heard? Where is that need coming from? Don’t be one of the hundreds of people that post a presumptuous comment without being involved in the situation. Your words won’t add much to the post, they won’t change anyone’s mind, and they certainly won’t change the outcome.

Are you in a difficult situation and in need of spiritual guidance and encouragement? I would be happy to help! Contact me to schedule a session which will include a reading to assess your situation and discover the potential outcome. We will then work together to formulate a plan of action that will help you get the results you’re looking for. Email me or reach out on Facebook.

Peace and blessings to you!

Jen Merkel