Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Just a bit of a soapbox if you please...

I am of the opinion lately that people spend far too much time worrying about what they (and those around them) do or do not deserve. What is or is not fair. Who should have and who should have not. Frankly, I’m sick of hearing about it.

I mean who really DESERVES anything? Do you deserve to be rich or sick or poor or well liked? Do you deserve to live in a certain neighborhood, drive a certain car, wear certain clothes? Is it fair that your business is successful while others hate their jobs? That you are able (or unable) to have all the children you want? That your marriage is happy or un-?

The truth is none of us have anything except by the grace of God. So I wonder why we don’t all start acting with a little grace ourselves.

I hear all of the chatter and bickering and round and round and round again about healthcare and I want to scream—Why can’t we all take care of each other? Isn’t that the most decent thing to do? Isn’t that the most Christian thing to do? But instead it becomes a question of who deserves coverage, who deserves quality healthcare, and fear over whether or not me allowing you access to my doctor means less healthcare for me.

This next part may be a little scary to hear, but it’s Halloween so I’m sure you’ll forgive me. It is my firm belief that we are all one job loss, one sick child, one unexpected accident away from being on the other side of this debate. And all the talk about the “others” will become a mouthful of humble pie as we begin to talk about “us.”

I don’t have all the answers. No one does. That’s why we all have to talk instead of shout; create solutions instead of roadblocks; remember the innocents that are caught in the middle of all the chaos-spewing pundits; realize we are all closer to needing, really depending on, a smart solution than any of us would like to admit.

For many of us it was our good fortune to be born into circumstances that have afforded an easy life where much is taken for granted. For others, the security that comes with having the most basic of needs met and the most human of fears allayed is nothing but a dream. It is our great challenge to realize we are all basically the same. To drop the pride and fear that separates us and dig in to do the right thing—for each other. I am convinced that one subtle shift in attitude could change the world and the way we live in it. Na├»ve? Maybe. Worth a shot? Absolutely.


Tawn said...

AMEN! Great post Mindi!

Emily said...

Amen. (Now I know why you won all those debate contests so many years ago.) :-)

I used to work downtown at an alternative highschool. I taught an adult course to get people ready to take the high school equivalency test. Because of the very real gang rivalry going on around and in the school, we had to be super strict on rules such as dress code, what students could and couldn't bring into the school and classroom, and children in class. It really was a matter of safety, and as difficult as it was, I had to explain (several times) to people with tears streaming down their cheeks why I had no choice but to enforce the rules. I can't tell you how many times I heard things like "What am I supposed to do with my baby while I'm at school?" "How can I pass this test to get a better job when I have to work nights to pay the rent?" "If I don't pass this test and get a better job, I will never see my kids again." It was truly heartbreaking.

Within the first few months, I realized that people just wanted to tell their story. There were several stories of poverty and hunger, lots of stories of years of drug use and gang activity, and tons of stories with young mothers who swore their boyfriends wouldn't split on them but they did when the baby was born. I couldn't change their situation or answer their tough questions, but I could listen.

I can't tell you how many evenings I drove home so humbled and full of gratitude. I came to realize that I am the way I am and I have had the opportunities I have simply because of the family that I was born into. It was such a cycle with so many of my students, and they just didn't know how to break it. I had people in their forties with great-great grandchildren because the history of teen pregnancy and dropping out of school happened in every generation.

What I am trying to say (in a very long-winded way) is that you are exactly right. It could be "us" so easily and quickly. Even people with healthcare, when they are faced with a medical condition, find themselves unable to pay or really scraping by. I can imagine that you have experienced this with McKay. We had two relatively healthy babies, and the bills are still pouring in. I can't believe how much a few weeks in the NICU costs!

Well written, Mindi. (Sorry for the novel.)

Maybe you should run for office!

Emily said...

I think I just said a lot of words but didn't make any sense. I was just trying to say that so much of life determines on which family/situation you happen to be born into. It is difficult to judge another's situation.

Thanks to budget cuts made on behalf of our lovely state legislature, we will only have insurance coverage until next May. So, I guess in June, our family will become the "them."

Good topic & good soapbox.

Sabrina said...

Mindi, you are most amazing. I've had fantasies of taking my girls down to DC to literally set-up camp right in the middle of congress so I can share MY/OUR story. I think putting the unbearable adorable faces of our special tots in the spotlight could really change things (as sad as that is, but it doesn't someone working in media to know that cuteness sells).

I've also always loathed the word 'deserve'. I much prefer 'earned'.

I wonder...perhaps for a topic for our next visit...is there much dissent where you live? dissent in color, religion, views...etc....? It's comfortable for us all to become cozy within our own, and forget what life can be if you are of a completely different background, race and religion. does your church offer messages/sermans in support of or against HCR? curious...

Well, just today Olympia Snow of my neighboring state of Maine voted in favor of the senate HCR bill. One big step forward.

sadly, we are just one small accident away from 'them'...especially with Luna...we did not even share her situation when Paul first landed his job post architectural boards...speaks volumes, I think.

anyway, thanks for writing, and blogging...off to read your next post about the marathon!

likeschocolate said...

I was just reading your older post on visit to cardiologist. I can't believer your little one weighs as much as my 2 1/2 year old. Way to go.

Ryan and Hilary said...

Amen Sister!! Get on the soap box and shout it our loud-Hallelujah!!

Rich, Shelly, and London said...

I have had problems also with health insurance. Because my husband is self-employed, we are unable to get affordable private health insurance for our CHD baby. As much as I hate it, I am working full-time for health coverage for our baby. Is that luck? No... I take pride in knowing that I've EARNED it. Health Reform... Yes. Government Run Programs... Heck no!!!!
Side Note: Congrats on the Marathon! You are amazing!

Sabrina said...

Rich, Shelly, etc...

and God forbid something happens that you cannot work fulltime to raise funds for healthcare for your CHD?? BTW: You should look into Katie Beckett for your CHD kid.

after I wrote 'earned' I was regretting it... in the case of many Americans they are delivered messages that if they do not kill themselves trying to earn funds for healthcare they are 'bottom feeders'. "Duped" would better decribe that scenario.

Finally, not to pick on Shelly, etc...but one of the biggest issues our CHD kids have is when they turn 18 they are not coverable. As health insurance stands today the *only* way for insurance companies to make a HUGE profits is to deny kids like ours.

Now, do you suppose they EARNED they? or did we?

ps-in my other comment, meant to include that Oympia Snow was the sole republican to vote in favor of the senate HCR bill. Her quote, she "wanted to be on the right side of history".

Many of us do call this the civil rights movement of our time...and isn't fighting against universal health, thus denying coverage for millions of Americans-because of their health-rather uncivil?

Laanykidsmom said...

I found you through Twitter. I appreciate what you had to say. While I am nervous about the outcome of all the health care reforms, I am also uneasy about current conditions. My husband has good coverage through his work, but we are currently holding our breath waiting to see if insurance will approve our CHD daughter's second heart surgery, scheduled for 2 weeks from now at an out-of-network hospital. But it's where her cardiologist wants her to go and is the best out there for her. So here we sit and wait. Yet I do have much to be thankful for, having insurance to begin with when we have 4 children, one with CHD and one with epilepsy. I agree that sitting around whining about things not being fair does not help. We are all truly one step away from falling into trouble, and we literally take it one day at a time. Blessings to you and your family.

Kimberly said...

I think this should be published in every newspaper from sea to shining sea. Very well said.

Terry said...

Amen sista! I couldn't agree more and I count my blessings every day!

ann said...

WE were one job loss and one chronic illness from being on the 'other side' - and now we are on the other side with no health insurance - and a chronically ill son with no health insurance. IF we ever get employed again, we will possibly be excluded, for sure certain conditions will. Our son, thoroughly able to work, doesn't get hired, because it will be too costly to insure him. Is it fair? No. Is it legal - it doesn't matter because it doesn't happen. It can happen to anyone - two jobs, 4 kids, private schools, car, house - not any more. Can't even get a flu shot.