Posts tagged The SOLD Project
Insurance companies make easy targets for human frustration, generally with good reason. In his book, What Would Google Do, Jeff Jarvis observes that the insurance industry is “built on getting us to take a sucker bet—a bet even we want to lose.”
Nobody wants a reason to collect collision, fire, flood, health, or certainly life insurance. Worse than Vegas, we know that insurance companies stack the deck against us; that is the foundation of their business. If we don’t collect, we are losers (we’ve lost our money). If we do collect, we’re still losers (something bad happened)…We can’t win. The industry has to suspect that we are liars, making us prove our misfortune and reluctantly giving us back the money we put in the pool. They make the economics overcomplicated so we don’t know just what suckers we are and so we keep making safe bets—safe for the insurance company. Our relationship with insurance is, therefore, necessarily adversarial and built on mutual mistrust.
If you’ve been following the adventures of Michael & Heather Colletto in Thailand, you’ll know that Heather blew the living daylights out of her L5-S1 disc at the end of September and, after two weeks of total immobility, pain meds, and waiting for the insurance company to “pre-certify” the necessary care while the risk of permanent spine and nerve damage increased, we finally said “forget you,” took our doctors’ advice, and rode an overnight ambulance to Bangkok for emergency spine surgery. You’ll also know that our global insurance company, International Medical Group (IMG), has been everything but helpful (don’t get me started), and that we had to pay for everything with our credit card. Thankfully, we had a credit card with an obscenely high limit, and thankfully top-notch medical care in Thailand is shockingly cheap by American standards; however, as full-time volunteer NGO workers living on support, the bill was more than our combined annual salary. Plus 18.24% interest. Gulp.
Needless to say, we’re broke as a joke. Which, in a way, is puzzling to me. I’ve always been responsible. I’ve had a savings account since I was 10, I took a personal finance course in college, never carried a credit card balance a day in my life. Financially, I’ve made nothing but smart choices. (Well, except for that time I quite my job at QVC to move to the mission field in Eastern Europe…and then a year later when we sold nearly all our stuff and moved to Thailand. But, those crazy moves where God’s idea, not mine. Who am I to question His judgement?)
In light of recent events, something I read earlier this year came back to me with new potency: “In the West you have so much,” observes Chinese pastor Brother Yun in his book, The Heavenly Man. “You have insurance for everything. In a way, you don’t need God.”
Heather and I continue to adjust to a strange new normal back in the States: living as guests in our niece’s pink bedroom; our stuff and our cat stranded indefinitely several States away; Heather working part-time for SOLD while looking for additional paying work with health benefits. At times we think to ourselves that, surely—surely—by this point we’ve learned that God has a plan that’s better than ours, that we have and are nothing without Him, that we’re completely dependent and that we can and should fully trust Him with our present and future. And then in that same moment we realize how desperately hard we’re trying to regain control of our lives.
We have no insurance. Sure, we have a little plastic card with IMG’s logo on it and we dutifully pay them their premiums every month, but they’re not going to help us; they’ve proven their uselessness. We have no financial cushion. We have no assets to sell. And all of that is scary. Because we have to trust God. Without insurance—with the walls of our proverbial city all crumbled around us—we absolutely need God. There’s no denying it.
Over and over again the Bible says it is better to trust in God than in “mere humans,” even if those humans are mighty warriors or powerful politicians. It goes as far as to say that those who put their trust in other people—even friends and family—are cursed because their hearts have turned from the Lord. Proverbs says that those who trust in their riches will fall, and that he who trusts in himself is a fool. Trust in the Lord, and the Lord only, the Bible says again and again. ”Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding…” I know this stuff. My head even believes it’s all true. But my wicked, proud little heart just won’t let go. And I need to. Apparently, that’s harder to do than it sounds.
God is my insurance. And, really, I should trust no other. God won’t necessarily keep us from harm or fill our bank account with money in the event of disaster—He’s not that kind of insurance, and that should be obvious by now. But He’s good. His glory matters more than my physical or financial wellbeing. And at the end of the day—and the end of my life—my hope rests in Him alone.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. —Romans 15:13
Not Intended for Commercial Use
I’ve got some good news and some more good news: we just sold out of our “Children: Not Intended for Commercial Use” t-shirts…so we’ve ordered more. And they’re even better than before. We’re switching from American Apparel because, well, we realized it was kind of ironic to campaign against sexual exploitation on shirts made by a brand with such a dubious reputation. The new shirts are Alternative Apparel’s Eco-Heather crew (color: eco-brown), which are made of organic cotton, recycled polyester, and naturally occurring rayon. They’re pre-washed, pre-shrunk, and super soft. Our logo on the shirt has been printed in just one color to heighten contrast, and, by request, we’ve ordered a few XL’s this time.
“Children: Not Intended for Commercial Use” T-shirt
Of course, higher quality (and a clean conscience) comes at slightly higher price than before, but they’re still just $25. And, to help keep these shirts affordable, we’re going to continue throwing in free shipping for all domestic orders.