It was once said to me that Americans have a 10 percent chance of being sued in any given year and a 33 percent chance of being sued in their lifetimes. That means that a large portion of us will experience a lawsuit. You can do all you can to protect yourself against a lawsuit, but nothing can stop someone from suing you. We are not in control of others actions. It’s not something we like to talk about. And frankly, being sued can be very scary and disheartening.
The more active you are in community and business, the higher your chances for being sued. But you can be sued for absolutely anything. So why am I talking about this on CatholicMom.com?
Well, it is very humbling to even admit that you are being sued or to even be involved in a lawsuit. The mere mention of it implies that someone did wrong and that someone could be you. It means that someone out there is mad enough, or sees the potential to gain from you, and is willing to harm you and your family. So it’s no wonder that people aren’t sharing about this. I have some experience in this area, and will share some of my journey.
This is a great chance to exercise forgiveness, and humility. In our businesses, we are clear that we use the Christian model of resolution with any person that comes on board. Firstly we try to work out any situation with clear communication with the individual. If that is not sufficient, then we involve a neutral third party. If that doesn’t work, then we go to a church authority or church leadership. If we still cannot resolve the issue we move to mediation and from there to arbitration. This would be the ideal path to resolution.
But as you know when people’s pride and greed get in the way they are less likely to follow this path of Christian resolution. Such has been our journey. In each lawsuit that I have been involved with, the other party has blatantly lied about the facts concerning the dispute. They tried to tarnish our reputation and harm our family financially.
The first lawsuit set us back finically a good 10 years. That’s a hard pill to swallow, and especially hard as you see each communication roll in from the lawyer along with a hefty bill each month. (More than you possibly ever earn in a month.)
I became anxious and even physically ill with each email that came in or phone call from the lawyers. We lived and breathed the lawsuit. It consumed our time and our thoughts and there was no escaping it. In addition we had to continue to work and care for our family. It dragged on for years, and exhausted all our financial resources. We tried to mediate, we tried to settle, we were actually winning in court.
But through the experience my husband and I grew stronger. We worked as a team, and we strategized. We weighed our options. We encouraged each other. And when we lost our financial wealth and home we did not lose hope. I learned DETACHMENT. I learned to appreciate things, places, people, while I had them. We eventually came to see all that happened as a blessing. Leading us to a new home and a new chapter of our journey. We live in the moment even more now. We know that even if we lose financially, we still have our talents, our memories, reasonably good health, and each other. We are reminded that it is not all about this life. One day these burdens will be no more. We must see the lesson that God has for us, and proceed forward with joy. Yes joy. And if you are not feeling the joy, you must “fake it, until you make it” for the sake of those around you.
The advice that that I would give and that is very hard to do is this. Compartmentalize. Separate out what is happening and the emotions attached to that experience and enjoy the rest of your life. Do not let it consume every waking moment. Enjoy your family. Lean on God. Pray in front of the Blessed Sacrament. Nothing can bring you peace like the moments spent in a Eucharistic chapel in silence. And a lawsuit, like any other unnatural disaster is just another part of your beautiful journey that includes pain. The pain you experience, makes the joys more perceptible, and enjoyable.
Copyright 2013 Paulina Ross