Conventional Wisdom

Some of that conventional wisdom is simply common sense.  Touch a hot stove and your finger burns.   The body needs sleep.   Anxiety makes us sick.   As you sow, so shall you reap.

Maybe not so much on the sowing/reaping thing.   Even a well sown field suffers devastation when weather is harsh.

The Kansas City Star has a story of a family of five living in a motel, cooking in the bathroom and kids playing in the hallways.  I didn’t read the entire article so I admit to not knowing the details of ending as a human interest feature.  But the point is that this family’s story is common.  Homelessness is becoming common.

Shortsighted planning?  Credit card abuse?  Instant gratification, unwillingness to save towards future purchases?  That mysterious ‘better life’ for the kids?   Agreed.  This is sowing weeds.

But there is more.  So much more beyond the control of budgeting for utilities, wearing last year’s coat, eating at home, driving less.  Desensitization to core values that foster restraint.

Corporate greed.  Aggressive advertising to influence children.  Media messages that create needs from wants.  Political pork.  Self interest grown to monster proportions.

It is more than the economic bubble doing the bursting.  And just for he record, there is no way to recover a burst bubble.  Try that.  You can’t.  It is gone.

Starting over?  The top of the economic strata is just fine.  No need to start over.   And the ‘supplemented’ strata will be steady until the money runs out.  The middle suffers the most–and the middle carries the weight of the top and the load of the bottom.


Looking Around

I have wanted this blog to type itself because I have this huge need to ‘run-around-scream-and shout’ and I haven’t found the words.  Things are a mess.   More and more people are homeless.  Houses in foreclosure.  Bankruptcy filings by hard-working honest men and women being sucked into such difficulty.  Food lines at kitchens and churches grow longer each week.  Expenses climbing and salaries either not keeping pace or disappearing in company lay-offs or closures.

Look at the faces around you in stores, malls, churches.  Bitterness and hopelessness are struggling in those faces.   Prayer?  Even men and women who have prayed for a lifetime say the word with rejection.

Health insurance premiums going unpaid so food is on the table.

Anger rising as people search for someone–something–to blame.

“How can it be that there is no solution?  How can we continue when there are no answers?  How long can we survive without work?  Where do we live when the house is gone?  What is wrong with me that I am in this place?”

Demoralized is a very ugly concept.

And, as these questions do not get answered, the anger continues.

This I Know

Humans are marvelous creatures.  Right now, in these economic times, humans step up and display.

A man looses his job and after months, prepares for the loss of his home, selling possessions to stave off the inevitable.   His new work is job apps, interviews and piece work as it comes along.   Depression cannot be avoided, but he continues the job search.   Each day is a mountain, but he never stops climbing.  Today, after months of struggle, he said, “I am so grateful to live in this country.”

Young mother, divorced, two daughters and struggling to manage each hour of the day, staying centered so her daughters are less fearful.  And the grandmother is there, a constant source of help and support.

A home burns and the family is left with nothing.  Not so.  The family is left with neighbors, family, friends and strangers offering help.

Marine Toys For Tots boxes filled in so many commercial places.  Nice toys, not junk stuff, given with true concern.  All over the city, volunteers gather to wrap gifts and fill food baskets.

The ‘bicycle guy’ repairs and restores.  Food kitchens continue to serve warmth and smiles right along with the hot meals.  The mobile food truck is out in the bitter cold.

At this minute, a free health clinic is serving the uninsured of this city.  Some clients have not seen a medical profession for years.  Volunteers have given two days of intense service to a need that seems to defy solutions.

Hundreds of volunteers work to acknowledge the families of service women and men deployed and unable to come home to share the holidays.  Opportunities to reach those serving us with their lives—with their lives–are there for the taking.  Find those opportunities.  Participate.

This year, as much as in any year of our history, we need to find the words of The Eight Beatitudes and live the meaning.  Our worship of our God is in the streets more than in the churches and temples.  Our prayers need actions more than rote.  The beauty of a mid-night service doesn’t reach the cardboard box under the bridges.

We keep what we value.