It Isn’t a Sob Story, It is Your Story


As a bankruptcy paralegal, I’m the first one to answer the phone at our office and something really hit home with me this week.  A woman started talking to me about her financial situation and then started to tear up.  Tearing up over the phone is not uncommon for callers, but this caller almost got angry at herself and she apologized for telling me her “sob story”.  As soon as she said “sob story”, I couldn’t help but stop her for a moment and tell her that it wasn’t a “sob story”…it was her reality and it was a hard one.

The phone went silent for a moment, but I knew she was still on the line because I could hear her quietly crying.  I told her to take her time and that emotions can be larger than we think when we finally let them out.  She took a few deep breaths and then together we were able to talk about her reality and what options she was going to investigate to make her reality better.

I honestly count it as an honor to talk with someone when they are vulnerable and count it as my responsibility as a Christian to talk with them in a caring and compassionate way.   I think sometimes of what I would want my doctor to be like if I found out that I had a serious health condition.  I would want my doctor to:

  • Take time with me and not make me feel rushed
  • Understand that although he/she talks with patients about serious health conditions every day,    I don’t and this is my health that we’re talking about.
  • I would want my doctor to be informative and to give me information that I can understand
  • I would want my doctor to follow up with me and see how I’m doing

I’ve been blessed to have doctors that have treated me in all of the above ways, but I’ve also heard of people who haven’t been so fortunate with their doctors.  A doctor’s approach and compassion can make a huge difference in how a patient feels about their situation.  Although I deal with finances instead of health, an upbeat and positive approach also helps the people who call us to feel more at peace about their financial situation.  Working with people when they feel vulnerable and knowing that I can make a difference even if we only talk that one time is a huge honor for me.  If you ever ask me why I enjoy what I do, I’ll always tell you that it’s because I know that what I do can make a difference.

If you are in Southern California and would like to talk about the difficult financial reality that you’re going through, I would be happy to listen and share with you about how bankruptcy could help.  We can set a time to talk during the day, during the evening, or over the weekend.  Its your story and we’re here to help.

Image credit: morganlarue

Lisa Starrett

I am a bankruptcy paralegal in El Cajon, California, working with my husband Carl to bring the hope of a fresh start to debtors facing mounting bills. Through this blog, I’ll share ideas about dealing with financial stress, budgeting and hopefully provide a little humor along the way.

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