Largely ignored due to the warm weather, I "stumbled" onto my fuzzy green blanket a few weeks ago. I'm slightly embarrassed to admit that I have sought solace and comfort from a favorite blanket for most of my life. One of the best birthday gifts this year was a blanket my daughter made for me. I'm certain it's my new favorite. This was originally going to be a funny post about blankets but something bigger came up. Thinking about the welcome relief I get from something as innocuous as a blanket led me to the following.
Recently my eyes feel newly opened to the widespread life-changer experiences of almost everyone I know. Even in this town it's easy to distinguish the "haves" from the "have-nots." Or maybe it's an illusion. Some of the "haves" now find it slipping through their fingers. There was a lot of bulking up in the '80's and 90's and when those people were full, the banks offered a "better" lifestyle to those that couldn't really afford it. Hell, the banks couldn't even afford it. But they got bailed out. It's painfully obvious that the same entity that got us into this mess isn't going to really help us out of it. Though they pretend that they will. Einstein fits in here; "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." It's a twisted shell game that has left so many d-e-v-a-s-t-e-d. Not just all those millions of Americans but our family and friends. It's so easy to become myopic in our own world view. But the greatness I see coming out of the loss is families pooling their resources with other families to help keep it together and I'm fortunate to be in the co-op. It bears mention that the "haves" are not exempt from challenges. I know those that are struggling just the same, it's only a different scale.
It's just a reality that money is a great equalizer. Another is health. It's easy to have myopia here too. Hey, if you and your family are well it's all good, right? It can only take a minute for the tide to change and you're on your knees (or your back). If I hear one more time, "but you look well..." It's not that that's a bad thing to say or hear, I work hard at not looking on the outside like I often feel. Otherwise is would be Halloween more than just one day a year. And my stuff is no big deal at all compared to what I've witnessed. I watched my own mother battle cancer and recently some friends who've been fighting their whole life to save their son from cystic fibrosis lost him last month. It's the stuff that life-threatening heartbreak is made of. What gives hope is that I have seen, and been personally blessed by, people coming together to carry each other through. My friend Heather says words I love so much, "When you can't, I will." It's the only way we are going to survive and then thrive.
I detect a general malaise in many places that I go. Like a low hanging fog, I see it. Even in the eyes of the employed, those that I have business transactions with. Maybe they're supposed to be happy that they have a job; likely it's still not enough to make ends meet. Not to be forgotten are people who may have money and good health but have a burden on their back just as big. It's worth putting on our glasses to help our myopia and recognize, everywhere you look people are struggling. Kindness is the salve that heals. Apply some where you can.
Maybe the playing field has not been this level since The Depression. Seeing ourselves and others as equally in need of each other, it’s no longer possible to think that trouble is on another side of town or in another city or state. As painful as it’s been, the good news is that we have come to be in community with one another. I’m beginning to see that a good blanket, some love and the human spirit can overcome the human condition.