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August 7, 2020
A Thought for Today
Ex-husband and Banking

Happy Birthday Frank! Yes, my much older, much shorter brother’s birthday is today. I’ll have food on this table tonight for him, just as he has requested!

So, something almost, but not quite, funny happened this week. One of my good memories of being married to Daniel involved the way he encouraged me to grow and be independent. We had been talking about buying a new car. We had rented a few vehicles when we traveled to check out what we liked. I really liked a Toyota Sienna. One Friday, I dropped Daniel off at the airport to fly to Portland for a meeting. Instead of driving home, I drove to the Toyota dealership and bought a new Toyota Sienna. On Sunday afternoon I drove the Sienna to the airport to get Daniel. He called me from in front of the terminal, and I told him I was directly in front of him. His face lit up and he told me how proud he was of me for being capable of doing that on my own.

Fast forward to this summer. Last month, Daniel bought a BMW for his husband. I thought that was sweet. I checked my bank account Wednesday afternoon to find that a significant chunk of money was about to leave my account to pay bmwfinancial. I don’t own a BMW, nor do I have an account with them. Yes, I was about to pay the first installment on my ex-husband’s gift for his husband. I think my blood pressure was slightly elevated. I called bmwfinancial, and they told me they could do nothing because I did not have an account with them. I asked them if they could simply confirm if the amount withdrawn from my bank was the same amount Daniel was paying, or confirm if the number of the account it was being drawn from was my bank account number. They said that would be a violation of Daniel’s privacy. I remained polite, but my blood pressured edged up a bit further. Apparently, taking money out of my bank account is not a violation of my privacy.

I called my bank, and the fraud department stopped payment to bmwfinancial. That was fine until they told me that I would need to go to the bank and close my account and open a new one. I do all of my banking with that account. There are only three small bills that I intentionally pay each month by going to my account. Everything else, EVERYthing else, is withdrawn automatically from my account. The thought of having to take care of all those accounts is what finally triggered a few tears. That’s the account that the IRS has on file for me. I am about to close on a refinancing of my house. Closing this account is more than an inconvenience. The housing loan officer said I would be okay if I put every single dime into the new account. I can’t take any cash out when I change accounts, nor can I add anything to the amount. To top it off, I had to wait until this morning to go to the bank, since I had to make an appointment to enter the bank lobby.

What lesson can I learn from this? Not one for me quite yet. I need more time for perspective. Unless, it is better to keep a sense of humor and laugh through this kind of stuff? My lesson for Daniel? Don’t be so sloppy with your banking, and don’t keep any information about me lying around. You shouldn’t have my bank information after so many years.

What is the real lesson? It is not helpful for us to compare our painful situations with other people’s painful situations. I almost wrote, “This is minor compared to what many other people are going through right now.” Yes, it is. But why do I feel a need to diminish the level of aggravation this has caused me? And it is oddly condescending to look down with puppy dog eyes to someone else going through a difficulty. Some things cannot and should not be compared. My aggravation is mine, and it is real to me. Your aggravation is real, and it is real to you. How can either of us compare which is worse? That is not helpful. It is also not helpful to someone who is hurting to use the words, “Well, it could be much worse.” Of course, it could be worse! But, don’t try to diminish or deny what they are feeling now. That is more for your comfort than it is for their comfort.

“Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.” Romans 12:15