Monday, April 02, 2007

A Day of Lows/Highs and Gratitude

Today was one of those days, internally I was a mass of confusion, my personal life has taken turns I had not expected it to take so soon, 4 days ago, I thought I would be dealing with the disappointment of having to delay my plans, my path still unsure. Yet, within just a few days, events have moved faster than I imagined, path still unsure, but there is movement. Luckily, today, I was able to function professionally, which was good, there were a few days last week, when that was nigh impossible.

Work was good because I was busy, very busy, but there was sadness also, there always is the first of each month. So many people seeking financial assistance......not enough money to pay their rent, not enough money to buy food.

So many young families, barely making it. One young mother called today, her husband brings home $400.00 a week, their rent is $850.00, their car payment $225.00, 4 children ages 5, 3, 2, and 5 months, with another on the way. They are on public assistance, with a plan to be off in one year's time. She was $100.00 short for her rent payment, and had no money for food. All I could do was give her a list of phone numbers and the addresses of food banks, and charitable organizations. I heard at least 5 similar stories today, so many homeless, or on their way to being homeless, only so many shelter slots available, only so much money out there to aid them. So many young mothers, with no where to turn. Another young mother who had used up all the time she was allowed at the domestic violence shelter, and now had to find an apartment for herself and her 3 young children. Another 21 year old HIV patient, 7 months pregnant, and homeless. I wish I knew the answers, I wish I knew how to make it end. We use the Homeward Bound Walks to raise money for the nonprofits who proffer aid, but it is never enough, nor will it ever be enough. And there are just enough people out there defrauding the welfare system, that those who really need help, are treated as if they are criminals, just for being poor, treated as if they are lazy, and have chosen a life of ease. A life of ease? Scrabbling everyday to find enough food to put on the table, to have a fairly decent and safe home for their children.

When I asked the mother of 4, if she had checked into the subsidized housing market, she stated that those places were not the type of environment she wished raise her children in, and I could understand how she felt. If an apartment complex has its own satellite police station, and still has the highest violence statistics in the city, one does wonder.

Aside from the poor in dollars, I also had calls from the poor in health insurance, those who are middle-aged, too ill to work, but not sick enough to qualify for disability, not old enough for medicare, not enough money to pay for state emergency health insurance. Where do they turn? It is frightening

There are some who say, "Why are they having so many children? Haven't they heard of birth control?" What the people who have that attitude may not understand, is that many times, it is the loss of a good paying job, that brought them to the low point in their lives. Or, an unexpected debilitating illness. Yes, sometimes it is just making poor choices, but we have all made poor choices. My hope for these who are receiving the help they need now, is that when they feel more secure in their lives (if that ever happens), that they will in turn help someone else who finds themselves in similar straits.

So many times, I have tried to imagine a future in which I myself could be in their place. It really makes one appreciate family,
makes one appreciate friends, appreciate good health, appreciate having a decent job, with benefits available.

These calls are saddening, but they do help me keep my own life in focus, help me realize that no matter how awful my life at this moment may seem, I have options open to me, that they do not. That I will get through all of this inner and outer turmoil. It also has made me realize what a wonderful support system I have, I hope I have been able to let my friends and loved ones know how very much I appreciate the strength they lend me. It truly is a gift.

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There have been some moments filled with laughter today, my daughter is home from her trip to Europe, she is full of stories, funny stories, brave stories, making new friends stories, and best of all, stories that demonstrate how a good many people touched her heart.

Although at this point I am also still hearing her vacillate between being extremely happy to be home, and saying that she hopes to never see/hear/or board another plane for a good long time!

To hear her describe her sense of awe at viewing Michaelangelo's David is truly amazing. She said she wanted to stay there for hours, that she fervently wished for a sketchpad and charcoal, to try to capture the emotion on the Statue's face. She fell in love with Florence, and wants to hope is that she does, often. Most importantly, her desire to study art has grown, of that I am very grateful.

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A quote from today's Daily OM

On Communication

" When we are in a relationship where we feel listened to and understood, we count ourselves lucky because we know how rare that experience is. We reserve our most intimate selves for the people who, along with us, cocreate an open space where we feel free to express ourselves and listen without judgment. These relationships, which thrive on open communication, can mean the difference between existential loneliness and a deep sense of belonging. We all long to feel heard, understood, and loved, and clear communication makes this possible."

For the first time in many years, I have people in my life, relationships, that I feel free to express "me" in, I am so very grateful for the gift of them, to them. I hope that those same people feel such freedom with me.


Fiona said...

I shared that very same OM with my love.....we relate to the 'centredness' aspect of it *VBS*

aaaah the have and have nots....if only the world's wealth was more evenly distributed....hell if only people were paid appropriately for their work, with those that contribute meaningfully, receiving more than they do - people like you Sunny, and nurses, and anyone just anyone in the 'helping people' business.

I don't think I'd have the strength to do what you do. I'd be going home with nothing my pockets even though I realise that's not how you can help the most.

I'm constantly appreciative. I know what it's like to go hungry, to be in horrible, spirit-breaking debt. I'm one of the lucky ones...I crawled back out from it by way of luck and having wonderful people in my life who cared about me, at times more than I cared about myself.

Oh Sunny I do so love your stories about your daughter's trip. One day I want to hear about your travels too *VBS*

Big hugs and power on woman, you are awesome!

X. Dell said...

I have too much to say on the first part of this post, so it's hard to be pithy. But people who condemn poverty as a moral issue, or as an intelligence issue don't realize their own good fortune and privilege. That's dangerous to a society that so many people are ignorant.

What's worse is that this problem will continue to grow.

Sunny Delight said...

Fi, that Om did resonate within me, made me feel so blessed.

As to what I do, most of the time my pockets are empty, thus even though the temptation is there, I have naught but my listening ears to give.

I too, hope you hear stories of my travels....most especially, I hope that a story or two include stories of travels visiting friends *points to you*

Sunny Delight said...

xdell, Huge sigh....yes it grows and I said, maybe, just maybe, if those that receive help, and then prosper, make the decision to give too, then changes are made, perhaps only small ones, but in my mind, one person can make a difference, one person at a time.

Fiona said...

Well, with a bit of luck and courage, I may not be TOO far away from you one day :)

Sunny Delight said...

I would love that!