I used to think time would magically heal all my wounds, but doing nothing was recipe for bitter disappointment. Recovery gave me a recipe to get better.
In 2008, my small family decided to move from Illinois to Florida. When our charming bungalow didn’t sell right away, I wasn’t worried. We left it on the market and moved on to a bright future. After six months of double payments on a single income, we decided to rent the home until it sold.
Co-Dependents Shouldn’t Be Landlords
Our friend Kevin’s son, Matt, was looking for a place to rent. Matt was an ex-Marine. He promised he and his wife would take good care of our home. They were even hoping to buy our home the next year. The first three months went well. On the fourth month, they were two weeks late with the rent. A few months later, they were again short on cash. In lieu of rent, they promised to chop down a dying tree for us. Co-dependents, especially those who live out of town, shouldn’t be landlords.
Nine months into their lease, the tree was still standing, and our neighbors were complaining about loud, late night parties. Plus, I heard they got a large, angry dog. Two weeks after their rent was due, I got the excuse every landlord dreads, “I couldn’t send my rent check because I was in jail.” I flew home and found the shock of a lifetime. The house was trashed. When I finally got enough nerve to ask for the money they owed me, they moved out.
My beautiful home was not only ruined, but un-sellable. Seven windows were broken. Carpets were saturated with dog fur and urine. Furnace ducts were caked with moldy dog food. The basement was flooded with trash, over 30 large-black bags full, and the tree was still standing. The damages cost us over $4,000.
I Didn’t Repair The Emotional Damage
I called plumbers, cleaners, and carpet-installers to fix my house, but I never thought to get help processing my emotional damage. The only tools I had were:
- Kill them with kindness
- Forgive and forget
- Turn the other cheek
- Don’t let the sun go down on my anger
I tried to forgive them because that’s what a good little co-dependent “should” do. I tried to look on the bright side. At least they left. I didn’t have to evict them. Plus, I got new carpet out of the deal. None of these empty thoughts soothed my anger. I finally just pretended to be OK.
My Fearless Moral Inventory Exposed Bitterness
One of my favorite sayings is, “Expectations are predetermined resentments.” When applying that truth to my rental situation, at first I thought this meant I had unreasonable expectations of them which led to resentment. However, they signed a legal document saying they would take care of my home and they didn’t. My expectation for their behavior didn’t betray me. Another expectation did.
Before the rental fiasco, I endured a period of personal tragedies like infertility and adoption. I expected my Higher Power to give me a break from heartache. He did not. I was really mad at Him for not protecting me.
Another Bitter Disappointment In The Kitchen
Expectations set us up for disappointment in all walks of life. I love chocolate, so when I heard about cacoa nibs I had to try them. Harvested directly from cacoa beans, these nibs are chocolate in its purest form. I had great expectations for this pure chocolate. They are high in antioxidants, fiber, and magnesium. A lesser known fact, they are also very bitter. Instead of pretending to like these sour chocolate beans, I decided to accept them as they are. Accepting reality protects me from resentments.
To balance their bitterness, I paired them with some sweeter dark chocolate.
Chocolate Sauce For Ice Cream
- 1 tablespoon butter or coconut oil
- 1/4 cup chocolate chips
- 2 tablespoons of cacoa nibs
- 1 dash of sea salt
In a small saucepan, melt the butter or coconut oil. Remove from heat and stir in chocolate chips. Add cacoa nibs and salt. Pour over ice cream. The cold ice cream hardens the sauce into a chocolaty coating.