Another Dose of PerspectiveJanuary 27, 2009 at 8:34 pm | Posted in Culture | 19 Comments
It’s happening at our house. It’s scary and it’s real. It is the realization that we are just like all those “other people” suffering in these uncertain times.
It began three weeks ago when Hubby came home and said, “They laid off twenty guys at work today.”
And suddenly, it was us. It was us wondering if the emergency fund was enough. It was us looking at loosing all benefits and all security and hoping that this bad economy would not ruin the ability for Hubby to pursue his passion. And suddenly I looked at the news and the people in the unemployment line very differently. I second guessed that cup of coffee, the shirt I splurged on, and the night out that we spent way too much on.
It began to take over our lives. Everyday he would go to work and I would wonder if this day would be his last. Another week, more layoffs, and he survived. Yet another, more men sent home with no warning. And finally this last week, we survived again.
We are the lucky ones. But how long will it last?
In the midst of feeling very stressed and wondering how we will keep our home, our “stuff,” and our way of life, I received an email from a dear friend.
At her office there is a man that she sees from time to time. He is cold, wet, and dirty. His only companion is his little Collie, Jay. He once had a job, a good job. He was passing through and suddenly ran out of gas money. He lives under the bypass near her building. My friend keeps dog food and supplies for this man so that when she sees him, she has something to offer them. He usually refuses to join her inside, stating he is too dirty, but she implores him daily. Today he came in and she offered him something to drink. He brought his own cup. It was filthy so she washed it. She said she had no idea how long it had been since he had a clean cup to drink from. She noticed that he was missing a glove. He had no way to get another one and his exposed hand showed dirt, grime, and the abuses of the elements. She listened to his story and gave him shelter from the cold, if only for a few minutes. He has no one, cooks with a kerosene heater, and lulls himself to sleep to the sound of passing traffic on a busy interstate. Feeling the cold and biting wind as he tries to get some rest he faces the next day in uncertainty. He wants to work. Has tried. No jobs to be found, especially when you can’t supply a home address.
She cried as he led Jay from her office today on his makeshift “leash.”
Today he became a real person to her. A person with thoughts and feelings and a past and a future. A person who mattered. A person just like her.
I told her she was his angel. Her reply? “No, he is my angel. He makes me realize just how very blessed I am to have what I have, and I refuse to complain.”
Aren’t we all just one step away from being exactly where he is? Shouldn’t we be thankful? Doesn’t this make you approach your day, your job, your “stuff” differently?
Perspective people. Perspective. And I just gained some.
My greatest fear is leaving this world without someone or something feeling the impact of my being here. Today, my friend reminded me that sometimes changing the world doesn’t mean doing huge things for faraway lands, sometimes it means reaching out to those who seem so common in your everyday life.