Blessings: Not Always Equally Allocated
No matter what the state of the economy may be, we always have those among us who are down on their luck. Families without insurance fall into this category in great numbers, sometimes because the deceitful digit of disaster seems to single these unfortunates out for a double load of misery. And always when they can least afford it. Case in point: the mother-in-law of a friend was left penniless when her husband passed away with no meaningful estate left to parse out among his family. The woman was living on her own meager scraps of income when she was struck down by a particularly virulent form of cancer, which soon morphed into septicemia. The unfortunate lady passed away without sufficient resources to pay for a funeral. Family members took up a collection for the most simple of burials.
My youngest brother died intestate, after having drunk up every dime he ever made. In his case, death was mercilessly swift. He had suffered strokes and was forced to use a crutch when he walked. That didn’t stop him from getting totally blitzed one night and hobbling out in front of a car. Again, the burden fell on the family to scrape up enough money to bury him. His demise was probably more a case of karma than bad luck, but rest in peace anyway.
We can always argue that people make their own luck, and that certainly rings true in many instances. But what about the individual who is born on the margins of life, is minimally gifted with the ability to learn or retain knowledge or skills? What about the poor woman like the one I cited above, who manages to raise six children on minimum wages with no support from a ne’er-do-well husband or significant other who drifted in and out of her life until finally leaving her destitute? You might suggest that we have social safety nets for people like that, and you’d be right. But before that net is extended to catch you, you have to be utterly poverty stricken and without any other means of support. Have you ever had to fill out the paperwork for Social Security Indemnity? With bad times mostly befalling those of us who can least afford to lose a day’s wages, I would challenge the average citizen to jump through all the government hoops to submit the required application. There is literally a ream of paper involved in these “simplified” processes, and even if one can wade through the maze of forms, they are invariably turned down on the first run-through. Most SSI applicants have to hire a (pro-bono) lawyer or qualified social worker to work on their behalf. If the reward is worth the effort, it is only because these applicants have come to the end of their respective roads.
And now the Holidays are upon us again. We can’t help out everyone who is in critical need, or can we? There are simply too many of them walking a fine line between homelessness and respectability. But we have both agencies and ad hoc groups that are willing to accept our gifts, even if they amount to no more than serving turkey at a homeless shelter.
Folks like the Lubbock Food Bank, Meals on Wheels, The Salvation Army, and numerous church charities are doing incredible work in this regard. There’s no question that it takes sacrificing some of our bounty to make this happen, but I strongly believe that this is how we define “community.”
Politics and all prejudices aside, we become a much more viable community when we share where needed.
“And of Thine own have we given Thee.”
George Thatcher November 2022
George is an American Bad Ass. He grew up in Jersey, flew B-52s in Vietnam, taught English, Spanish and other languages to children around the world, makes his own salsa, has been known to enjoy a beer or two and has called Lubbock home for a few years, just to entertain the locals. Welcome to Raiderland, Major. We are going to feature some of his writings going forward. Some new, some old. Some rhyme, some don’t. When it comes to George, there’s no box. So… enjoy our friend and enjoy his writings! – Hyatt