Make us your home page
Instagram

Prayer, patience never waver as troubles mount

Laura Poirier, 39, meditates on the back porch of her 2,800-square-foot home in Clearwater. A divorce and a failed business have depleted her savings. The home is facing foreclosure, and her car is close to being repossessed. She copes by praying and taking time to meditate with candles at least once a day to keep her spirit strong.

Laura Poirier, 39, meditates on the back porch of her 2,800-square-foot home in Clearwater. A divorce and a failed business have depleted her savings. The home is facing foreclosure, and her car is close to being repossessed. She copes by praying and taking time to meditate with candles at least once a day to keep her spirit strong.

Laura Poirier, 39, doesn't pester God. In times of trouble she prays once, maybe twice, for God to fix things. Then she prays for inner strength. "In faith there has to be a level of trust, which I have. When I don't feel like I have a prayer answered, I know its not time. I need to go through a little more," she explains.

Poirier prays often. Quick prayers as she goes about her day; running late in traffic, folding laundry or before checking the mailbox for overdue bills. And every day there is a long prayer, stretched through a timeless, dark, candle-lit meditation, sealed off from everything else in the world.

She prayed for her marriage, before her divorce, and for the success of her Dunedin coffeehouse, before it took her savings and went out of business. Now she prays that the bank will restructure her mortgage, that her creditors will negotiate and that she'll find a buyer for her 2,800-square-foot Clearwater home before the foreclosure goes through. She asks to sell a few more pieces of her home's furnishings to get her through the month, and that when the needle sits on E in her car, God will help it make a round trip to pick up her kids at school.

On days when she is strong, her faith doesn't waver. "If God puts you on a path and doesn't change it, there's a gift at the end. Sometimes you just don't see it until much later," she says.

She accepts that she made a mistake by putting all her savings into the coffeehouse. When the business failed, her financial world came crumbling down. "I've gone from immaculate credit nine months ago to well under 500 and dropping. It's just a night-and-day change in our way of living in a short period of time."

She prays for divine intervention sparingly, when she is at the end of her rope.

"By losing everything, you realize what touches you most, what your passion is and what you want for your life. Material things become less and less important. I have to let those things go because they don't matter as much anymore."

For the pressures that won't go away, meditation is the only way she knows to cope. She dedicates as much time as she needs to calm her mind and rekindle her spirit. It can be a long struggle.

"I feel like this is a pruning, like I'm being stripped of a lot of things. I'm grateful for the lessons, as hard as they may be. But some days are harder than others. Some days things are just toppling one after the next and I need to meditate even more, to rejuvenate and stay positive. I need to be. It just isn't an option to go backward."

About this feature

Two out of three U.S. families say they live paycheck to paycheck. The crisis gripping financial markets makes it tougher to take out loans. American savings are in the negative. In the Tampa Bay area, the financial pressure is acute, with unemployment rising higher than the state and national averages. Add a related surge in property taxes and insurance bills (not to mention higher gas prices) and the challenge to make ends meet is spreading. It's not a fringe problem. It's your neighbor; it's us. Times photographer John Pendygraft seeks stories that put a face on the phenomenon.

Are you living paycheck to paycheck? Share your story at jpendygraft@sptimes.com.

To see more of this series and to watch a video about Laura Poirier, go to our special report.

Prayer, patience never waver as troubles mount 10/04/08 [Last modified: Friday, December 19, 2008 6:05pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Data breach exposes 469 Social Security numbers, thousands of concealed weapons holders

    Corporate

    Social Security numbers for up to 469 people and information about thousands of concealed weapons holders were exposed in a data breach at Florida the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. The breach, which the agency believes happened about two weeks ago, occurred in an online payments system, spokesperson …

    Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam on Monday that nearly 500 people may have had their Social Security numbers obtained in a data breach in his office.
[Times file photo]

  2. Trigaux: Can Duke Energy Florida's new chief grow a business when customers use less power?

    Energy

    Let's hope Harry Sideris has a bit of Harry Houdini in him.

    Duke Energy Florida president Harry Sideris laid out his prioriities for the power company ranging from improved customer service to the use of more large-scale solar farms to provide electricity. And he acknowledged a critical challenge: People are using less electricity these days. [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]
  3. Citigroup agrees to pay nearly $100 million fine for Mexican subsidiary

    Banking

    NEW YORK — Citigroup has agreed to pay nearly $100 million to federal authorities to settle claims that a lack of internal controls and negligence in the bank's Mexican subsidiary may have allowed customers to commit money laundering.

    Citigroup has agreed to pay nearly $100 million to federal authorities to settle claims that a lack of internal controls and negligence in the bank's Mexican subsidiary may have allowed customers to commit money laundering. 
[Associated Press file photo]

  4. Goodbye Tampa Bay Express, hello Tampa Bay Next; but toll lanes aren't going anywhere

    Transportation

    TAMPA — Tampa Bay Express is dead.

    The name, that is. But its replacement — Tampa Bay Next — includes several of the same projects once proposed for TBX, such as the express toll lanes on the rebuilt Howard Frankland Bridge.

    The Florida Department of Transportation on Monday announced that it was renaming its Tampa Bay Express plan, also known as TBX. The plan will now be known as Tampa Bay Next, or TBN. DOT officials say there are still re-evaluating the most controversial aspect of the old TBX plan: spend $6 billion to add 90 miles of toll roads to bay area highways - Interstates 4,75 and 275 - that are currently free of tolls. But TBN will keep the plan to add express toll lanes to the rebuilt Howard Frankland Bridge. [Florida Department of Transportation]
  5. Trigaux: Tampa Bay lands on Forbes 2017 ranking of best places for young professionals

    Working Life

    Consider this one more notch in the belt of Tampa Bay starting to win serious attention from millennials as a place to live and build a career.

    Mike Griffin is a senior managing director in Tampa for Savills Studley Occupier Services, which provides integrated real estate services. He is also chairman for 2017 of the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce, the first of the next generation of leadership emerging in this metro market. [Courtesy of Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce]