So . . . are you as tired of the "Affordable" Health Care Act discussion as I am? Every night, and I do mean EVERY night, it has been the subject of at least ONE news story, in one form or another. The discussions, some of them quite heated at times, tend to go on and on, seemingly with no end in sight.
Recently, U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) delivered a 21-hour speech in an effort to delay things in Washington. It pretty much failed but at least he made an effort. There was a time when we took it upon ourselves to take care of each other. This whole health care issue really makes me wonder.
There was a time when the people of this country didn't depend on the government to take care of us like we do now. For example, my parent's generation, who were born during the Great Depression. The following is an excerpt from an e-mail my mother wrote me. She was answering some questions I had about the Great Depression for a story I was writing a story called Joann - about helping those who had recently become unemployed).
"My father still had a job with the highway department. But he impressed on us that we should do whatever we could to see that anyone from a poor family at least had some health essentials."
"He (my grandfather) also hired people -- a cleaning lady, and a "hired girl" to watch us kids and run errands. He also often bought groceries for families he knew were having a rough time. [This was ingrained, because his father always did the same thing. He took the butter or chickens he got in payment from those who could pay, added other groceries he knew were needed and took them to his patients who were needy.] I remember hungry men coming to the door and my mother fixing something for them to eat. Many of the out of work men traveled and lived like hobos, checking each town along the line for possible work."
Hmmm. Interesting. There was a time this country took care of each other like my grandmother did. Those days are long gone I fear. Or are they?
Recently, while volunteering at Ruby's Pantry, a local food pantry near where I live, I was introduced to a young lady named Amber. Amber's friends had brought her to Ruby's to get some food and soon began telling me Amber's story as they waited in line. Amber, you see, was a domestic abuse victim. Kicked out of the house, she had nothing. Nothing! No job, no food, no money. Nothing.
After I welcomed Amber to the food pantry I decided she needed to feel a little "loved" so I informed a few of my friends there at Ruby's and arranged for her to be . . . picked on. All in a loving way of course. She loved it.
I also asked her to give me a list of the things she needed and I told her she'd be taken care of. However, I was not prepared for what happened next - a true outpouring of love and compassion from a group of people who have never even met Amber. It truly was amazing to witness.
I work at a place called McMahon, a multi-faceted firm in the Fox Valley. I took a chance and sent an e-mail about Amber and her situation to everyone in the office. It didn't take long for the compassion to begin flowing. One guy stopped me in the hallway and handed me $40, another gave me twenty. Then the boxes began to come. Household supplies, blankets, dish towels, clothing, kitchen utensils, paper towels, toilet paper, toothbrushes, measuring cups and a vacuum cleaner! . . . dozens of items. It was amazing. By the end of the week my car was full of gifted items for Amber. I dropped them off at her "apartment," which was a dismal, dark, one-bedroom place a few doors down from Hardees in Waupaca. Despite the dismal surroundings, you should have seen the smiles!
Amber and her boyfriend Scott kept telling me, "I can't believe it!"
"All this is for me?"
There is something about adversity that creates and urge to be closer to God. It could be seen it after 9/11 when the nation's church attendance soared. But adversity also brings God closer to those in need through His church, the people who know Him and honor Him with their actions. It could be seen through the people where I work and how they came to the aid of a young domestic abuse victim.
After all of the donated items had found a spot in Amber's apartment, I placed one last item right on top of the pile. It was the thing that Amber needed the most in her young life. A book that contains all of the answers to every question she will ever need answered - God's Word, The Bible.
Thank you God for your provision in Amber's life. May her faith and trust increase as she seeks answers to her many questions. And may YOU, God, BE the answer to every question she asks. And thank you for providing caring people in this world, who see a need . . . and fill it, without question, thereby creating a feeling of hope when previously there was none.
"42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. 43 And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. 44 And all who believed were together and had all things in common. 45 And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46 And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved." - Acts 2:42-47