Saturday, June 30, 2012

For What It's Worth

I know this is a hot button issue right now, but in the debate about "Obamacare" there is one issue I have a hard time swallowing.  Regardless of where your politics take you on this matter, I'd like to challenge us to think about how we speak.

In the past few days I have read the following statements (or something VERY similar) more times than I care to count, "You are not entitled to what I have earned." Or worse yet, "I worked hard and went to college apparently so you wouldn't have to."  These are favorites on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter, with people "sharing" them over and over again. 

I take an EXTREME amount of offense to this, and I know I am not the only one.  For the past 3 and a half years we have been without health insurance.  Never once during that time were we "milking" the system or "wasting" all the hard work and effort of people who "earned" what they have. Cody held 2 full-time jobs for over a year in order to make ends meet and chase the dream God had given him.  Currently we are both working.  We both earned college degrees (not that it should matter) and we are both working in the fields we trained for in school.  He is a church planter, I am a teacher, and we are both foster parents... and we have no health insurance.  We believe God has called us to be doing what we're doing, but we take responsibility for having made that choice.  Cody and I go without health insurance, but we do not believe our children should go without, so we apply for MI Child/medicaid.  So here's the kicker... we may not make as much money as some people, and our jobs may not offer health insurance like many do, but it DOES NOT mean we haven't paid taxes towards the services we receive, it DOES NOT mean we are slackers or leeches, and it DOES NOT mean we don't work VERY hard to make a good life for our family and to make a meaningful contribution to society.

You may say, "so buy your own insurance then."  I would say, go price out personal insurance and let me know how easily your budget could take that hit.

You may say, "so get a different job or move."  I would say, I am right where God is asking me to be.

You may say, "you are the exception not the norm."  I would say, think again.  The average household income in my county is $28,599 (in 2009).  For the rest of the state in 2009 it was $45,255.  People here work hard, they just don't earn what people earn elsewhere.  When a job pays that little, it rarely comes with benefits, unless it's a big corporation (ie. Walmart, Home Depot, etc.), and they don't set up shop in tiny northern Michigan towns. 

I honestly don't care whether you support the new health care laws or not.  I have NO desire to argue the politics or morality of it all.  I'm just BEGGING you to choose your words carefully as you debate this with others.  We "slacker/leeches" types are tired of all the mud slinging. 

As an FYI- we will have insurance through my job starting in September, and although I am extremely happy to know it's coming, it does not change my feelings about this whole issue. 

Saturday, January 28, 2012

It's Been a While

Wow... it's been months since I last posted. I've been struggling with how to write and what to write, and in the end decided it was best not to write. If you remember what we were talking about last, then you will probably notice that those posts are gone. There are new guidelines in place in the foster care system that prohibit me from sharing our journey in a public forum like this. While I technically never shared any identifying information regarding our current placement, it was in the best interest of all involved to remove all posts related to this process.

So... what to write when life's current journey is off limits? I have no idea. Its difficult for me to feel as though anything in my life is blog worthy knowing I cannot incorporate that piece of the puzzle into it. I guess I'm a little too holistic that way.

Here's what I am learning (and I apologize for the vagueness):

Everyone walks a difficult path. Everyone.

SO many of our friends and family members have made the comment recently, "I just can't imagine being a foster parent. There would be nothing harder than saying goodbye to a child you love." I don't really know how to respond to that, except to acknowledge that this is the path God has asked us to be on for this time in our life. The reality is, I can't imagine having a spouse who goes off to war for months/years at a time. I don't ever want to know the pain of a marriage that is disintegrating despite my best efforts to save it. I can't imagine raising my children alone. I can't fathom watching a loved one die of cancer, or losing a child, or suffering a life altering injury. Yet... I have watched friends and loved ones walk all of these paths with dignity and strength and faith in a God who sustains.

We don't always choose our paths...sometimes they choose us... and when they do, we have a choice: we can run away, or we can face our fears as best we know how, and hope and pray we come out more like God on the other side.