"Love is a harsh and dreadful thing to ask of us, but it is the only answer."--Dorothy Day

8.10.2007

Indebted (2).

So, I've obviously been thinking alot about money lately. And after reading my last post, I know that I did not even touch the surface of what I really wanted to say. Where to begin?

As you can probably tell, I'm essentially a socialist. I do believe that it is our duty/privilege/responsibilty as human beings, let alone as Christians, to take care of one another. And we are clearly not doing this, as evidenced by our need for health insurance, and life insurance, and vast retirement savings, and by the fact that millions of people are homeless because their lives did not afford them the privilege of a safety net. I have spent alot of time thinking about this, as a large majority of the people I work with at my jobs have been homeless at some point. How is it that someone becomes homeless? You might say drugs, irresponsible life choices, or sadly, mental illness. But with all of these things what it boils down to is lack of a safety net. A job with no health insurance, so a minor ailment becomes a crippling one. A job that pays so little that they barely afford a place to live, let alone to save for a rainy day. Having fallen through the cracks so many times, that they are now senior citizens who cannot read or write, and do not have anywhere to turn to for help. In situations like these one thing goes wrong, and you are out on the streets, sleeping under overpasses, on doorsteps, in a chair at a shelter. But one of the most amazing things I have ever seen is how these people who have been let down by the system that is supposed to protect them then rise up to protect each other. Young, single mothers who babysit for each other so some of them have a chance to go to school or work. Homeless men and women who look out for each other, gathering information about what can be done to better their situation and keep them safe. Severely mentally ill people making sure that their neighbors, who may even be somewhat better off than they, are healthy and feel cared for.

I do realize that I am in a very easy position. I am not married, I have no children, so therefore there is no one counting on me for really anything. So it is not necessary that I set aside 15% of my income, or that I have comprehensive life insurance, or that I worry about someday buying a home, or needing a car, and it goes on and on. And thus I have room to think about the way things should be. And I, because of my aforementioned debt, don't do all that I could or should do. But I like to imagine what the world would be like if money had no power. If need always trumped want. If equality actually mattered. If every child was allowed a joyful and uninterrupted childhood. And I know how naive I sound. Please know that I am not naive, but simply hopeful.

1 comment:

pastorkes said...

I love this. I am reminded of when Thomas More was invited to gaze upon the riches of the church of Rome.

"Never again will the church say 'silver and gold have I none'," said the pope.

"Then never again can she say 'rise and walk'," responded Thomas.

It's okay to be hopeful. Hope is simply the expected outcome based on a set of beliefs. We hope for a world where money is a means to bless those without power not an end for those with it. Now we must behave as if we were already living by the laws of that world.