You know the expression It never rains, it pours? Well, it’s storming all around me and it’s been brewing for a while.
I’ve been there. My family has come through financial difficulty in the past, illnesses and accidents. This time though four people whom I care deeply about are struggling with what life is throwing at them.
One friend is in an abusive relationship, her husband’s words sting like a slap to the face, but no one sees her pain. Another friend’s husband is very ill. They are continually going to doctors for tests and anxiously awaiting results. A girlfriend is struggling to make ends meet for her children, having been abandoned by her husband. Another friend is barely able to keep his head above water while trying to hold on to his business in this failing economy.
My heart is breaking for each of them. I so desperately want to fix things for them or at least help in some way, but there’s not much I can do. I feel helpless. The sleepless nights I’ve had, the tears I shed in private, do nothing for them. So I do what I can. I offer a shoulder to cry on, an ear to listen or give a hug (which I sometimes think is more for me than them). Fortunately, I seem to be able to make people laugh and my girlfriend has told me it has saved her numerous times.
Every day we read headlines and hear news stories of another plant shutting down, thousands losing jobs, businesses going under, murder-suicides and domestic abuse on the rise. You read about it and turn the page; you hear it and turn the channel, just numbers and faceless people struggling to get by. Suddenly though, I am seeing first hand the affect the failing economy is having on people close to me, the increased tension and abuse, the emotional and physical pain brought about by stress.
I am so impressed with the strength and courage of each of my friends. Even in their weakest moments they put the needs of their children, spouses and employees ahead of their own. They are good people.
Why do bad things happen to good people? I don’t think we’ll ever have the answer to that. But I do believe we sometimes come through bad times and move on to even bigger and better things, but the getting there can be tough, it can take it’s toll.
I pray that God will continue to give my friends strength and courage to take the necessary steps to improve their situations, and I pray God will help me as their friend, to know the right thing to say and do for them.
When I was in Grade Three my teacher, Sister Liatancia, told us whenever we heard a fire siren or saw an ambulance go by with it’s lights flashing, we should say a silent Hail Mary for the people in those situations. I’ve done that ever since. And now when I hear a story about people losing their jobs and homes and struggling with domestic abuse, I stop and say a prayer for them as well. It can’t hurt, and it just might help.
My son is a box boy at a local grocery store. He was gathering carts in the parking lot when a woman complained of a man begging for food. He reported it to the manager who told him to tell the man to leave. My son observed the man, who would ask for food then sit and eat it on the curb. He told me Mom, he wasn’t begging for money to use on booze or drugs, he was begging because he was hungry. I wasn’t going to make him leave. So my son approached the man and asked him to be more discreet so he wouldn’t have to ask him to leave. He also told him where the local soup kitchen was located.
My son showed empathy and compassion for this man and in today’s economy we will all need to dig deep to do the same. More than ever before, food banks and good will stores need our help in supplying food and clothing for the many families that are finding themselves without jobs or homes. Take a look around you, you won’t have to look far to see someone you know who is being directly affected by the plummeting economy.
So when you read the headlines and hear the news remember, There but for the Grace of God go I. Do for others what you would want them to do for you in that situation. It’s the right thing to do.