Monday, August 10, 2009

The Gate is Small & the Road is Narrow

I haven't written in a long time. Real estate dealings leave me emotionally drained, and physically spent almost every day. I've been working 70-100 hours a week. It aint' been easy. This summer I have been working on the same few deals over and over. They have so many problems. Every day I have more problems to fix. If it was easy, I wouldnd't have a job. If there weren't problems, there would be no need for a problem-solver such as my self.

I will spare you the details of the these deals.

The most draining issue with my business is I'm carrying the burdens of nine or ten people, actually more. These are my clients. If one doesn't sell soon, and if I can't work out the short-sale with the bank, my client will be stuck with a bank foreclosure, and having to make payments for years and years on a house she doesn't own anymore. If I can't get the price for a house that someone needs, they can't move their kids out of the horrible neighborhood they desperately want out of. If I can't work out the negotiations on a sale, the buyer will be stuck trying to find money under a rock to buy their dream home.

Carrying these burdens is a priviledge for which I do not complain. People call me when they have a baby and need more room in the house. People call me when they are getting married and starting out a new life together. People call me when their loved one dies, and the house needs sold to settle the family estate. People call me when they are getting divorced, when their spouse cheated on them and left, when they have lost their job and a paycheck. These are the roads I travel with my clients and for which I am grateful. These are the roads I travel, the work I do, the work I love. I truly love SERVING. It brings me pleasure.

However, there is a reason that Jesus Christ spoke about money and finances more than any other topic. There is a reason He said, "You cannot serve God and money." The thought of losing a penny, a dollar, a hundred dollars, a thousand dollars, makes people behave oddly. The thought that there is a possibility that someone can get a few more thousand dollars, or "one up" the other party causes people to act very strange. Clamor. That is what I have had to work with for over 3 months. Clamor. Clamor. and then, more Clamor. It began to take it's toll on my patience. As an outside observer, and yet still participating in the transaction, I see a side of people that is ugly. Greed. Pride. People will tell me it's called "principal." "I am not going to be nice to him now just out of principal," I hear that a lot. I call it self-centeredness.

On the phone this morning I spoke to our company's showing service. The showing service is a call center in Kansas where agents of all brokerages call to set up appointments to show our listings (houses). A lady I have never met, and whose name I didn't bother to remember, gave me a wonderful gift this morning. Laughter. I was stressed. I told her if I abuse her, please forgive me as I am being abused by my clients. She said the employees of the call center get that a lot. Then she said, If we all lived like nomads in the middle east, there wouldn't be any of this commotion going on in real estate. People arguing over who gets the firewood, or what day they get to move in. For some reason, I could picture people on ponies, packing up their tents and moving on. No you wouldn't care who gets the drapes, or the pot rack if you had to move every week and your entire house had fit on a pony! I got a big laugh out of that.

I told her thank you and said, "You know, even Christians that I'm helping start to lose their souls over a lousy quarter-sized hole in some drywall, or over $400 for a home warranty." I explained the behavior I see of people feeling entitled to whatever they want, and being angry if they are told no. They blame me, their agent, for not getting it for them. I told her I get this even from followers of Christ.

Then this nameless woman-voice gave me the zinger gift: "Mrs. Stevens, you HAVE to remember that the gate is small and the way is N A R R O W that leads to life and FEW find it! The way is wide that leads to destruction."

Wow. That helped. I must NOT judge those people who out of fear or pride or greed, reach out and start grabbing for everything they want, and everything they fear they will lose! That road is wide! That is the easy way! It is the narrow road that leads to life! Perhpas for this reason I was called to real estate, as I often try to put a transaction into perspective for people. In the scheme of 30 years, how much $400 hurt you? In the scheme of moving on with your life, what harm does a little drywall damage do you?

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