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If It Weren't For Bad Luck . . . .

A man once told my youngest son, "If it weren't for bad luck, you wouldn't have any luck at all."

Never were any words truer at the time.  My son had a thriving business, a beautiful family even though his son was severely Autistic, and a timber tree farm he was developing for his retirement.  Everything was working beautifully until a hick-up in his business started a spiraling down of enormous consequence.

It started slowly and quietly, a siphoning off of funds by his bookkeeper completely unbeknownst to him.  He thought back about how he sat for hours talking to his bookkeeper trying to figure out why his business was going underwater.  She sat and looked at him in the face as he was sweating blood in front of her and said nothing.  She saw she could get away with it and became bolder in her embezzlement.

Business problems carried over into the family.  Discontent and discord was a daily ritual.  Finally, with one day's warning, his wife said she was taking the kids and leaving him.  She met someone on the internet that understood her better than her own husband.

During the embezzlement years, two payroll tax payments were not made.  The consequence was the IRS putting a lien on his business and all his personal and real estate property in the amount of over $100,000.  The amount climbed daily with penalties and interest growing grotesquely.  Business checks were bouncing off the wall as revenue departments scoured out his checking account with absolutely no warning.

He was in his final throws of desperation as he fired his bookkeeper and asked me to help out.  I went to his shop.  It took me five days of looking over the books to see how his bookkeeper had been stealing thousands of dollars from him every month.  She went to jail and some restitution was made, but it was too late.  All his clients were leaving him and he struggled for another year before he finally declared bankruptcy. 

In the meantime, the internet relationship of his ex-wife was hitting hard times.  They had a drug party one day and instead of meeting my son to pick up the kids from a weekend visitation the ex-wife took off and woke up in a town 150 miles in the opposite direction from the meeting spot. 

She "went missing" for two days.  My son went to court to get emergency custody of his kids.  They were in the process of questioning him as a prime suspect in her disappearance.  As they were questioning him, the authorities called the local police station to say they found her.  She maintained she was kidnapped and taken to this town in another state.  Unfortunately, she didn't realize that kidnapping over state lines brings in the FBI.  She was questioned by the FBI and confessed to being so wiped out on drugs she didn't know how she got to where she was.

My son had sole custody of his kids for 2 months.  He tried to get permanent custody, but the judge gave back the two kids to the mother who hadn't even finished rehab for her drug use.  She moved the kids to another state and we only get to see them about once a year.  That was one of the darkest days of his and all of the family's life.

The definition of luck is something that happens to people by chance.  There can be good luck and bad luck.  But you would think that alongside bad luck would be some good luck as well as alongside good luck would be some bad luck--some evening out of luck so when you look back on your life, you can see how the bad and good come to each one of us, with neither good nor bad luck dominating.

My son will never get over the things of his past and the injustices he has and is living with.  But, three years ago, completely out of the blue, he met a wonderful woman.  They have been together ever since and are expecting their first baby girl in July.  He has slowly regained back employment and is trying to make enough to support his new family as well as support for his two older kids.

So, right now, my son is experiencing a bit of good luck mixed with the horrible bad luck of the past.  He is trying to focus on the future rather than dwell on the past.  But I believe after watching these events unfold, that bad luck is something that you have no control over and could be described as "by chance."  But good luck is something that you have to work very hard for, but it is not beyond the grasp of all of us.  You just have to be brave enough to reach out and it will come to you.

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I'm so glad you shared your story. I especially liked your lines about having good luck alongside bad luck and that good luck is not beyond reach. I'm going to remember that.
I feel lucky that I read your thought-provoking story.