Thursday, April 22, 2010

Just Two Among Millions

For all of the millions of people who are unemployed…

It's been two long years and still we wait for a change in our situation. We've prayed and hoped for jobs that haven't materialized. We applied in person, applied online, mailed in resumes and still nothing. After a while, we start to believe that we're no longer needed or wanted. Sometimes, we even wonder if we'll ever work again. Three years ago, I had a job that I thought I would retire from one day. Then, the applecart was turned upside down. Now, I'm scratching out a living in the best way that I know how.
There have been days when we didn't know where the next meal would come from, and some days it didn't come at all. We went to bed hungry that night. We've learned to live without a lot of luxuries including electricity, but I have a kind sister who allows us to make ourselves at home for a few hours a day. We will never be able to repay her for the blessing that she has been to us.
But still, we hold on to our hope. Somehow we know that there will be a better day. There has to be.
The worst part of being in an economic downturn—more like a spiraling vortex that leads to oblivion—is the relationships that you lose. You find that you no longer have the friends you once had. They're uncomfortable around you knowing that you can't enjoy all of things you once enjoyed. Even though you've never asked for anything except their love and compassion, family turns away too. They have their peace of mind and don't need/want to be confronted with our reality. It might bring them down. Worst of all, some even believe that we brought our troubles on ourselves—that we haven't tried hard enough to get out of our situation. Yes, I love the way I'm living. It was my ambition in life to end up this way, I want to say.
So, we are awed and humbled by the kindness and compassion of people who are virtual strangers to us. Neighbors that we're ashamed to say we never took the time to get to know come to us and offer helping hands. So something good can come from every bad situation. We're reminded that the relationships we form and commit to ("for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health") are the most important things in life.
And still, we hold to each other and to our hope.
The foreclosure is looming. This time there will be no way out. It's time to accept the inevitable. But where will we go, we ask ourselves. People ride by and take pictures of our house—the house that we worked so hard for and saved for. Now, we understand how the little rabbit feels with the hawk circling overhead. Our dream is dying.
Still, we have each other and we have hope.
In spite of everything, we realize how lucky we are to still reach out and find the other's hand. We know that we're fortunate to still find strength in each other's arms, when couples have separated and divorced over much less than we've been through.
So still, we have hope.
We want to pray, but we know that there are millions of others like us who need our prayers, too. We can only hope that they are surrounded by loving and compassionate people who will help them through these dark days and give them hope, too.
I've found my strength in God—the center of my life—the one who has sustained me day-by-day. When I look back over the past two years, there is no other explanation for how I've survived.
So still, we have hope, and we get up each day and go on… There will be a better day.