Monday, November 11, 2013

Ordinary


“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way.”

Obviously, chaos is the order of the day…an ordinary occurrence. Regardless of the era, what is has been and will be again…and again…and again.

So it is that I find myself in ordinary circumstance. To many it may seem extraordinary, but to the majority, I believe it is too terribly ordinary.

From my perspective, it appears that greed, hunger, fear, and uncertainty are far more ordinary than their opposites for even in opulence, there can be these things. All of these cross economic lines, racial boundaries, ethnicities. There is always one whose greed is his/her god. There is hunger regardless if it is a hunger born of the physical need for food or for the psychological need of love and acceptance. Fear motivates us to act in far too familiar ways, often creating greed, always perpetuated by an uncertainty of steadfastedness.

I would guess that if people were asked for one desire to be granted, that regardless of what that wish was – wealth, peace, happiness – the one thing that they seek is happiness.

Perhaps it is our culture that equates happiness with wealth. Yet we know for so many stories, fiction and non-fiction alike, money does not ensure happiness. Nor does it alleviate stress. Yet, while it does not guarantee a healthy diet, money, at least, allows one the choice of a healthy food source.

So, while money does not make people happy, it does, in several senses, allow a person more choices that might create positive factors that can increase happiness. Therefore, it seems to me that money can indeed by some things that help ease stress and dis-ease.

Look at the rate of heart disease, the number one killer in the United States. Mississippi is the number one poorest state in the Union. It also ranks as number one in the number of deaths due to heart disease – 244.1 out of 100,000 people – according to the CDC. Heart disease can be attributed to a diet high in fats, low in nutrients which can result in obesity, diabetes, physical inactivity, and excessive alcohol use – all conditions that can lead to heart disease.

It is a fact: organic foods, fresh vegetables, seafood are more expensive. A diet high in fresh fruits and vegetable, whole grains grown without of pesticides and nutrient-depleted soils, and omega rich seafood are shown to be healthier.
It is also a fact that money will buy insurance and easier accessibility to healthcare which in turn includes preventative measures that help keep a person healthy because concerns are addressed prior to becoming complex or lethal.

These facts are compounded by these:

44 million in this country have no health insurance while 38 million are under insured.

According to the National Poverty center, in 2010, 22% of all children under the age of 18 live in poverty. Within that 22%, 38% of those children are Black while 35% are Hispanic. Whites and Asians split the remainder almost equally.

The quandary for me is this: Why does greed drive a person to such an “all or none” type of ideology? Why must one person’s wealth demand that others are impoverished? Perhaps it is simply the number of people in need that scares those with wealth. 44 million is a very large number. Even if all of those people were only given $1, that would be an extreme total. Not that the dollars would come out of any one person’s pocketbook…still, the amount staggers the imagination.

We live in a time of vicious regulations. The laws of the land, rather than being legislated to protect the people, are set up to protect those whose wealth can be perceived to increase the well being of the estate itself, in this case, Corporate America. But that is not representative of the historical greatness of the American Dream.

The “Dream” was always based upon the idea that one could begin as an immigrant with nothing and rise up to great wealth and power. That “Dream” was played out throughout the history of the United States…until recent eras.

Yet, the historical idea of “immigrant” was of a Caucasian nature. The immigrants, for the most part, were white men, immigrant in that they were born in another country or perhaps were sons of immigrants. Those who “pulled themselves up by their own bootstraps” were the same – white men. They certainly were not Black men or Hispanic men…or women of any color.

However, those most in need of a break are those very men and women…and children…especially the children. If our hearts can be touched and our pocketbooks opened up to help those little foreign children on “$1 per day” why in the world can we not do at least the same for children in our own nation? Does the threat of death have to be eminent for our hearts to be moved to action?

I have far more questions than I do answers but I do believe a few things. I believe that fear is the god that too many worship. Fear makes us live out of our scarcity. We live in fear of losing what we have, whether that is a lot or a little. Fear makes us greedy. Fear demands that we think of self before thinking of others.

Fear demands that God be nothing to us.

There are so many discussions as to why the church is declining. We preach that we are to love God and love our neighbor but we elect people who do not care about neighbors…and give only lip-service to a belief in God. We bring people into government who talk a lot but whose past records do not show proof of their good will toward others. We elect people who accept huge amounts of money from corporate sponsors and from lobbyists. Their allegiance is owed to those donors. God has nothing to do with it.

Those laws could help that very large population of people living on the edge of uncertainty. But I go further and say, if we began to legislate so that we intentionally help those who are living in or near poverty, those who have no healthcare, the ones who are in need of a “hand up”, our children, our elders, lower income, we would begin to help all of our people living in fear.

If there was less need, there might be less greed.

Ordinary could become extraordinary. 


http://www.pbs.org/healthcarecrisis/uninsured.html
http://www.cdc.gov/dhdsp/maps/national_maps/hd_all.htm

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