“Your word is your bond”is something my mom always said to me. And as a businessman, my Dad hardly relied on contracts or long drawn out written forms–for him, a handshake was the way he dealt with business and personal agreements. If someone shook his hand, that was a binding contract—and it wasn’t until much later, in the late 1990s that he learned that individuals with integrity were tough to find.
As a businessman, he came up with an invention and looked for someone to create his product. He shelled out millions of dollars to a designer in England only to realize that the owner cashed my Dad’s check and skipped town. Not only was my Dad out his own millions, but he owed other investors as well. He valued his word that these investors would get their money back and I believe that the stress from this incident is finally what killed him. Not long after this happened, he suffered a heart attack, had 7 bypasses, and later several other heart related medical conditions. He died on Good Friday in 2000. These investors, knowing the risks they also took in this venture were ruthless and pounced on my mother–long time friends, bankers, and other associates would not leave her alone. She sold most everything to pay back these debts and eventually, it killed her just 18 months after my Dad. I often wonder if those greedy and unscrupulous people are ever ashamed at the way they treated my parents–some of whom were life long friends.
When I went through my painful divorce and annulment, I was hit hard as well from those who were closest to me most of my life. While I thought I had support from my family, ‘close friends,’ and parish associates, truthfully, they all left and it was just God and me.
After years of anguish, I learned to reinvent myself and become stronger. No longer do I accept abuse, or ill treatment or merciless teasing. I have made a choice to remain strong and surround myself with those who are supportive and loving. Oddly, my new family and circle of friends are much more supportive and caring than were the ones in my old life.
Truly God can make all things new again and he has done so with me-I am beyond grateful.
One important lesson I have learned is the value of integrity and one’s word. Hand in hand with my faith, it is the one thing inside of me that motivates me to keep going and stay strong. Having and using integrity means being like a rock; strong-willed, steady, and proud.
Thank you Mom and Dad for the valuable lesson of integrity. I wish you were here to thank personally.