“If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.”
― Mother Teresa
My frustration has reached a fever pitch as we enter a new political season. Particularly in terms of the lack of compassion we demonstrate towards one another. I know we talked about this some yesterday but I’m not done talking about this stuff yet. As a therapist, I work in the field of “this should not have happened to me” reality so let me highlight a few things for you.
You are one bad day away from needing public assistance. Even more, you are one moment away from needing public assistance.
In one moment, you can be hit by a car, get laid off, or have a serious health crisis making it impossible for you to work (possibly ever again). This is reality. If this happens, you may be saddled with (hundreds) of thousands of dollars in medical bills and need the support of unemployment benefits, disability insurance, and/or medicaid/medicare. You will have crossed over into “lazy welfare people.” And, if you have a family, your family will suffer and possibly need the assistance as well.
Maybe you are saying to yourself, my family will help me. Yes, I hope they will but I think you would be shocked at how fast the bills add up and the toll this takes on a family. This is why we have public assistance programs.
Maybe this has happened to you or someone you love but “you are the exception” it is the other people that “abuse the system” but not you or your loved ones. I’m sorry for what has happened to you, but you are not the exception, you are the reality. You deserve compassion and support because you’re human not because you are the exception or better than another person that needs support and compassion.
We’ve made needing support shameful. In doing this, we have to excuse our own circumstances by blaming “the people that abuse the system” to make ourselves feel better about needing help. We should not do this to ourselves or one another. Each case is unique and we all deserve love and compassion.
Maybe you are fortunate enough not to need food assistance or health care assistance (medicaid/medicare). But, not every one is “blessed” or “lucky” and working a minimum wage job is not going to support a family. And, you’re not willing to raise the wages for these people. Well, damn, there is no path out of poverty with this logic. Thus, people continue to need assistance.
They should work harder? How much harder (more than 40+ hours a week in many cases) should a human have to work to deserve just a decent life?
Go to college? Oh, yeah, and get pounded with thousands of dollars in student loan debt that is impossible to pay off. That plan doesn’t seem to work well anymore either.
Hello, American Dream? Are you still there?
Let the church help, it’s their role? I once spent an entire day calling churches in my community to help a family in desperate need. I received nothing but excuses as to why they were not able to assist this family. This is reality. If this worked it would be incredible but some churches (not all) are filled with people who believe that compassion is reserved for “the deserving” that meet certain qualifications. Definitely, not the ones that “abuse the system.” Of course, there are wonderfully compassionate people and churches doing amazing things to make the world a better place.
My lovelies, before you judge “lazy welfare people” that drain the system. Please, pause, and look in the mirror. I promise, you are one moment away from being a “lazy welfare person” and I promise you will want the compassion when that happens.
Maybe I can’t convince you that you are a vulnerable human and at risk of suffering, if that’s true might you consider: Who do you think you are judging another person’s needs and suffering? You don’t know how it feels to be the person that needs assistance. You don’t know their story or their private struggles. Who are you to say who is deserving of support and who is not?
I pray that moment never comes for you or someone you love but statistics don’t lie and the likelihood of you or someone you love experiencing a life-changing event is incredibly high. I’m not encouraging you to live a life of fear but rather one that is more mindful of the delicacy of life. And, one that is more compassionate to the “lazy welfare people.”
Let’s be better. Let’s be kinder. Let’s be more compassionate.
“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”
― Leo Buscaglia