Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Biting the Bullet

The phrase, "bite the bullet" came from when soldiers injured in battle would have to endure pain (from amputations, etc) and they would literally have to put a bullet between their teeth because the pain would cause their jaw to contract. This was very common during the war between the states when battlefield medicine was vestigial and crude at best. The soft lead would yield enough under the pressure of the injured person's teeth and jaw. This is something I was well accustomed to during an ingrown toenail removal (without the benefit of Novocaine properly applied) or the two cortisone shots in my left foot (which hurt like hell).

Today, I had to take another painful step that kept me up most of the night. I've been out of work for nearly 13 months with a 6 week stint with my former employer in June and July. Since then, for all practical or impractical purposes, things have gone downhill from there. My car suffered several costly and potentially dangerous breakdowns and sits in the parking lot with a ruined engine. Job prospects in Michigan are only slightly better than they were a few months ago and dismal in Lansing. At least the transportation situation may be rectified soon as I'm trying to barter for that, but this is not a done deal.

I'm one class away from my bachelors degree (which I'm signing up for in April to get that done). However, the students loan are now due and they are not going to be fun to pay at this point. They must be paid, and burying my head in the sand is not an option.

The payment coupons for one came in yesterday and a near sleepless night later, I took my son to the bus stop, showered and cleaned up. Then I proceeded to call or otherwise contact each one of these guys and worked toward a solution for all of them. This took the course of one hour and the result is to make payments on one, pay off one and defer the two others for now. This is on top of everything else going on. It is all the Lord at this point, because I would have beat feet about now (just kidding about the beating feet part).

For anyone else who's in my situation right now, there are options. Bankruptcy is not an option with student loans and neither is ignoring them. Like everyone else, you need to call these people and work something out. This is the painful first step, but it gets easier after that. Gather your bills, make a budget tackle the smallest first and make minimums on the larger stuff. However you do it, don't wait until you're delinquent as these people will nail you. The point I'm trying to make is this: make arrangements to pay your bills while you have options, Because if it goes into collections, your options dwindle.

A case in point is one of my servicers thanked me for calling, a rarity at this step. I'm very thankful for the people around me, and yes even the people who have the unenviable position of working for these firms. The Lord will make a way to help me with what I'm facing right now, so the sleepless nights should be few and far between. The promises still need to be kept and an effort must still be made to get these paid off. I know the Lord will help me through. Nevertheless, Maranatha!

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