I am posting this in both places.
Today, since Saturday morning coffee was cancelled, I am cleaning a bit, organizing a bit more and trying to do nothing useful. I was reading articles on Yahoo! and just had to click on a story about the yearnings and obsession for a gold some-kind-of-smarter-than-me phone.
As I read I thought that even though I try to avoid judge what other people want or have or use, I was being screamingly judgmental about this guy. And, I felt badly about it, at least until I read some of the article's comments and found that my petty judging was not an isolated thought. I had company.
Following that, more articles, a couple of recipes that look delicious but that I will never make. Then, two more, articles, not recipes.
They concern different aspects of poverty, and I am drawn to them, not only because finances are a major area of struggle for many of my clients, but because I have experienced it myself. I know that I harp on this, but the truth is that financial insecurity is a huge problem, not only for the poor...whatever the hell that is supposed to define anyway...but for many other families, those who are barely living from paycheck to paycheck. Fewer and fewer people are managing savings accounts and are not more than a missed pay period away from being destitute.
We are entering winter in this geography and there was an announcement this week that people had until a certain date to clear up and either pay their past-due utility bills or make some kind of arrangement with the company, which, here, is one company for both electricity and gas for heating and cooking. However, we have a state law that makes sure that no one goes without heat during the colder months. There are some people who never catch up on what they owe and I cannot imagine what that might be like.
I have been happy in my life. I have been afraid and lonely and just plain scared to death. I have been confused and stupid, careless and just plain heartless, and I will be all of those things again and again and, yet, again. Maybe even today. What I am not currently is poor. What I am, currently, is a person who is trying to do her best to make tiny pokes at the system of poverty here in my own town. I cannot express how important this is to me. I survived that other life and the way I honor and pay back for every good and decent thing that has been offered to me since then is to continue to do this work to the best of my ability.
And, it truly is very tiny, my work. I admire and support those who make efforts on a large, even global, scale. That is infinitely beyond my abilities, but I can help in my own and very local ways. I will most likely never make all that big of a difference in the life of anyone, but I do not care. This is about the moments and my recent bout with envy and how I am doing everything in my power to foster healing and recovery in my life. I wonder sometimes if all of this work is part of my pathology. No matter.
Two viewpoints of many:
CNBC - U.S. News
As holidays near, food stamp recipients face cut
Published: Saturday, 19 Oct 2013 | 9:00 AM ET
By: Allison Linn | CNBC Senior Business and Economics Reporter
Imagine - no extreme poverty. It's possible by 2030, says report.
Eric Pfeiffer, Published Saturday, October 19th