When I was sick last month, I sat in my house unable to hold any food down and without any purpose except to “get better” which by the way would have killed me eventually because I had a bigger problem that required surgery – but I digress….
When I was sick I kept kept kept thinking about those who cannot afford help. I had this picture of a woman like me, 40’s with a good education, fun friends and a decent work ethic but most importantly a dream for her family.
The dream this woman in my bleary-eyed imagination had was no different than mine. I want safety, I want my kids to have a better life than I did. It’s simple, really. We want to be known, we want to have a purpose and we want the same for our children. She and I are just alike.
That’s what I pictured as I tossed my cookies day after day –
…this woman, faceless, nameless but, at the same time, super powerful in my heart.
What could she do in my same situation? If any woman fighting for a new life (homeless, refugee, stuck in the poverty cycle) has a health crisis in her family, what does she do? Where does her help come from?
I ACTUALLY saw this while I was in the hospital. My roommate in the surgery recovery wing was extra stressed about getting better because she had limited insurance and a landscaping business that demanded her help ASAP as spring approached. Her income was made or lost while she sat in that hospital bed. Don’t tell me the stress of making her business stay afloat and making ends meet didn’t add to the complexity of her recovery!
How much GREATER is her predicament than mine was?
Sure, I had no purpose, no plans, and no energy but I have so many things I presume these women do not have. I have lots of insurance, I have a job, I have people checking in, I have a supportive, worried mate.
Again, how much more grave is the woman’s problem who has little by the worlds' stan
And what do we do for these women?
And how can we process this issue together as women of purpose who share the same dreams as other women who are perpetually in some kind of crisis? Do we assume their choices got them there? My health crisis was random, serious and not a consequence of my actions. So why wouldn’t something like this happen to her?
I think my illness has tenderized my heart in a needed way.
So now I’m asking you:
Who is like you but just less privileged? Do you see her? Do you recognize her plight and that IT IS DIFFERENT than yours?
How will this lead you to vote? How will this lead you to act?
To be honest, this post stops me in my tracks on two levels.
Number one: I don't know what to do with the fact that JUST BECAUSE I was born in this country, in this day and age, with these means and this privilege could be the difference between life and death. Call it "survivor's guilt" -- I don't know. But when I really stop to ingest that truth, my heart beats out of my chest. We humans, image bearers of God, are a body. We are family. We are one. The responsibility I feel to share the gifts God has given me in whatever way possible jumps to the top of the list. Listen, I realize life is not all about money, but let's face it, it often involves money. A lot of it. And God asks us to share. That is clear. But how can we share in a respectful, equipping sort of way -- not enabling hand-outs? That's fodder for a whole other post.
Number two: God has put me in relationship with a woman in my neighborhood (she has a name and a face, she's not "someone somewhere else") that embodies the exact things you describe, Christina. Obviously I cannot reveal too many details in order to respect her privacy, but the reality of this disparity and my potential role in creating one small bridge of justice in her circumstances is paramount in my heart and mind right now. I am asking God daily to reveal my place in her story, my portion, if you will. It is an absolute pleasure to be in relationship, but it often stretches me beyond my natural limits. I am leaning on God's Spirit of grace and guidance as I actively rely on Him to direct our steps.
I don't know??? Every day, there are multiple requests for help, either in the form of return address lables and a cause, a terrifying story on facebook which needs immediate funds, an update from missionaries barely surviving, cancer research, Special Olympics, close friends raising support, a natural disaster across the world, the IRS, organizations that provide a meal a day or vaccines for children in third world countries and the list goes on and on. I do want to give to it all (except the IRS), especially since so many were so generous when I was in a very scary spot financially, after Dave died. So, I set aside or bookmark the ones that I want to go back and pray about and decide how much to give and in the meantime, I get 10 more requests and the previous ones get lost in the shuffle of life. I wish that I had a focus on how to decide where my money should go. My main two are adoptions and widows, for some strange reason??? Oh, also Special Olympics, because when Leah was a baby, she did this weird seizure like thing forever and the doctors couldn't figure it out. So, I made a sort of deal with God that I would always give to Special Olympics, if Leah turned out to be able to talk and walk and stuff like that. I'm such a deep person, huh? I was getting very little sleep those days, in my defense. So, as we soon move into what I think is a pretty nice house, and I have a stack of letters asking for money in the corner, I guess I just feel guilty. Some requests are easy to say yes to, but I'm not sure what to do with the rest???