Prayer of Saint Francis

Prayer of Saint Francis
Where there is hatred, let me sow love and, where there is darkness, let me bring light.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Touched by Dr. Phil

I have admired Dr. Phil McGraw for a long time, in fact, we share a little history. Six years ago, my story, Adopting Katie, appeared on the back page of Good Housekeeping  (January 2007). That month, Dr. Phil was on the cover. My story was about how I rescued an old dog from the shelter (Adopting Katie). My latest story is about how Dr. Phil inadvertently rescued me.

For fourteen years, I lived in hell with a man I didn’t love. We had a marriage license and the ceremony took place on June 5, 1999, but this man was never a husband to me. Two weeks before the wedding ceremony took place, he showed up with a truck and began moving his things in. He shoved my things aside and put his wherever he wanted. On more than one occasion, I realized he considered my home a free motel.

After we were married, he lived in my home for several months without offering a dime to pay his way. When I finally asked him why, he said that he owed more than $60,000 on his credit card.

I was dizzy.

He still didn’t offer anything and I soon grew weary. I told him to get out and a few months later, I visited a mutual friend at her house. She said, “You know, Craig has been living in the old trailer in our backyard for months and he hasn’t offered us a dime. Can you believeit?”

I said, “Yes, that’s why he’s here. He didn’t offer me a dime either. You have to throw him out.”

“But Joe found him living in his truck!”

 “That’s too bad. He needs to take care of himself,” I said, and left the matter at that.

A few weeks later, Craig was back. He’d seen the writing on the wall. Our friends had sold the truck out from under him and so he was now willing to pay a few dollars toward his expenses.

He promised that if I gave him four years, the money trouble would be gone. So I gave him that time and throughout the following years, he met one financial disaster after another. There were too many to name here so I’ll just hit the highlights.

Before I met him, he bought a timeshare so he’d “have someplace to go.” It was a financial strain to pay for it and I often told him to sign it over to the company that sold it to him to get out from under it. He refused. After a few years, we couldn’t even use it anymore because he was behind on his maintenance fee but still had to pay the monthly payments. He tried to sell it but to no avail and refused to let it go into foreclosure. He was putting good money after bad. Eventually, He lost the whole thing and all of the thousands of dollars he put into it.

 I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004. I was in the operating room at Palomar Medical Center having a lumpectomy performed when Craig took my car without my permission and went out to pay some bills and have lunch. After the surgery, I asked him where he’d been. When I heard he’d gone out to lunch, I said, “Couldn’t you have eaten in the cafeteria?”

He made a face. “I don’t like cafeteria food.”

He had to have a $600 a month truck and an expensive cell phone to do his job at The Auto Trader. He only made $15 per hour. Every year, The Auto Trader would promise to supply a truck but the management never did. One day, I rode to the corporate office with him. I stunned to see a whole fleet of trucks in the back lot not being used. He made excuses and kept going the way he had been. When he got laid off in 2008, he was broke, having blown through his retirement account years earlier.

He filled out the unemployment forms wrong and so five months out of the next two years, he had no income at all. No one would hire him and eventually his truck was repossessed. At 62, he was forced to take early Social Security payments and so got only $1,100 per month instead of $1,700.

If I complained about any of this, he yelled at me. He somehow turned it around so that it was all my fault. In 20011, we were almost homeless. I had four dogs that I refused to abandoned no matter what. He laid in his room and refused to take a bath. If I tried to talk to him, he’d slam the door in my face or yell at me to get out. The dumbest thing he’s ever done—and trust me there were many—was to put my Lane cedar chest on the curb instead of on the porch like I asked him to.

I really hadn’t wanted to get rid of it, but I had no room for it. My mother had paid a lot of money for it as a graduation gift from highs school. It had sentimental value and even though the outside was scratched, was no doubt worth hundred dollars. I decided that if I gave it to Am Vets, it would go to a good cause. My father had been a Marine and my son-in-law was in the Navy.

 I came home one day to find a note on the door. The Am Vet driver asked where the chest was. Perplexed, I asked Craig and he said he had decided to help the guy out and put it on the curb instead of on the porch.

Someone had thought it was free and had take i!

I remember sitting in the bathroom and sobbing. With Craig, you take one step forward and twenty back. I asked God what I had ever done to derve him. I really hated him and wanted him dead for what he’d done.

Now, it is 2014. He’s Social Security check is being garnished due to back taxes. For years, I accused him of not making any money, of borrowing from Peter to pay Paul. He told me it was all bullshit, that he was making $40,000 a year and doing fine. He though it was perfectly all right to deliver pizza at night so that he could use the tip money to buy gas for his day job. He failed to mention that, as an independent contractor, he hadn’t been paying taxes on any of the pizza delivery income.

Once he lost his truck, he decided to use my SUV to deliver pizza so he “could make money.” He insisted that it was half his, even though my father and I had paid for it. When I refused to let him, he constantly blamed me for his state of poverty and kept secret the fact that the IRS was garnishing his Social Security check. I found out when I opened one of the letters he received in my mail box.

Now he has to collect cans, making $10 a day, in order to eat. It’s all my fault because I won’t let him use my vehicle. In utter despair, I turned to Dr. Phil for help. I saw that he was looking for guests to appear on his show. The subject was little boys in men’s bodies. What could be more perfect?

 I was so excited when the producer contacted me to appear on the show. Finally, I would get vindication from someone who couldn’t be bullied like I had been. Unfortunately, Craig refused to appear under any circumstances. I’m sure he didn’t want to appear to be an ass in front of the whole world which said something to me. All along he has known that he wasn’t in the right. He just knew he could snow me if he fed me enough bs.

 I realized something else too. he is perfectly willing to let me suffer and destroy my life so he could keep his disastrous life the same.

 It occurred to me that as devastated as I am about not being able to get the best help in the world, I may have gotten the blessing from Dr. Phil anyway. I now see Craig in a different light and I will not tolerate his bs anymore. I have filed for a legal separation and gave him a sixty day notice. I have decided to live my dream of turning my house into a foster home for indigent dogs. I will continue to write and live a simple life, no longer inspired to live beyond my means.

 I had to keep shopping, and eating to raise my spirits, but as I devote myself to service, I find I need those things less and less. In studying a photograph of Dr. Phil, I sense that he is related to the color of amber. In doing an online search, I discovered that amber (chasmal) is mentioned in the Bible. Scholars agree that the image is used in Ezekiel to describe the visible glory of God. I do believe that Dr. Phil does convey a sense of brilliance closely associated with our Heavenly Father.

 Another inspiration for me is Mother Teresa, my spirit teacher (See Spirit Teacher blog). At the same time this stuff about the show was happening, I began reading a biography about her and found much inspiration. She set the work on fire, founded numerous charities to help the sick and dying, won numbers awards, including the Nobel Peace Prize, with nothing more than the clothes on her back. Even when corporations offered her money, she refused it. She felt the work should be done with donations given from the heart of average people.

 I can do this. I believe it was my calling all along. I contacted the rescue where I got Diasy and offered to foster a dog named Fido. He has been languishing in a rescue with no home to call his own for two years. I aim to change that if I can. Only through my love of animals can I happily live.

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