As my husband has been out of work for a year and a half he knows all to well what it looks like and what it feels like.
First, our country would like to print that our unemployment rate has dropped, and it may very well look so, but that is not the truth. Many, if not the majority of men and women who have been laid off have now lost their benefits as they have ran out. Most like my husband have already went through their extensions. Our country is in worse shape than "The Great Depression".
The men and women standing in line have families they are trying to provide for. They feel like my husband and are asking themselves, "Why can I not find a job?" They are humbled by the loss of their jobs. If you ask one what would they like, they would respond as, " I just want a job, one that can provide for my family and meet our needs." They are not asking for more, they are not asking for a free ride, they want to have a job back. They want to get up each morning, pack a lunch, work for their check, go home at night to their families and know that they are secure.
We know all to well what it looks like. It looks like bills piled up, it looks like needs that are not being met. It is deciding which bill to pay, and which one to leave so you can purchase food. Its knowing you need to go to the doctor but cannot because there is no money for that. It is letting go of the very things that you used daily. It is wondering what is going to happen tomorrow. Its not wanting to answer your phone, because you know its a collector wanting their money. Its stress that others cannot understand. It is hurt and at times depression. Its not having gas to go to the store. And for many its not having gas to go look for work.
Its mothers standing in line for WIC to feed their children. Its fathers taking their children to the clinic, and standing in line with your food stamps that you never thought you would have. Its men and women crying themselves to sleep at and carrying an extra load on their shoulders. Do you want to be here? No, you don't want to beg for help, but what else do you do? Do you allow your family to go without food? Do you really want help from a government that doesn't seem to care about you?
Many are losing their homes, their savings is all but gone, and that college fund is empty. You try to skimp and save in way you can, but there is still not enough money. In our case, and it hurts to be honest, but I think it needs to be said. We are now living on 674.00 per month. That is my S.S.I check. I am disabled and cannot go out and work to help my family, so this little bit of money is getting us by. And that alone makes us blessed, because for some they do not even have that.
For some to stand in line for food stamps, for medicaid, for any kind of help they can receive is the most humbling feeling possible. You have others look at you like they have no clue. Some can look at you like you are less of a person. People and friends stop calling. People stop asking, "How are you?" And at times those who ask if you need anything are few and far between.
For my husband, I know he is out there daily, he is on the computer for hours looking, just searching for something. He did have employment for about a month, but he quit that job. Why? Because they were asking him to lie, they were taking advantage of him, for they knew our situation. Men and women out there looking for work are now asked to do it at a wage that will not even take care of bills.
We have always been blessed to have our needs met, to have special things, and to provide for ourselves greatly. We never lived above our means, and we saved and saved knowing this was a possibility. When it hits you can provide for yourselves for awhile, but then the savings is gone, and you don't know how your going to purchase your medication for your wife for the month.
You pray, you cry out to God. You ask, "Why". No one understands how badly you are hurting and how your needs are great, for they have not walked in your shoes. You try to be still, have faith, and continue to have hope. But it is so hard to keep going each day. For me to watch my husband, to see his burdens breaks my heart.
But I know we are not alone, there are many, too many to count that are hurting from job loss. You begin to just look out the window and wonder does anyone really care? You become afraid if you must go to the hospital. You become weary from borrowing money from your parents in hopes of paying them back when you get back on your feet.
Your insecurities become greater with each passing day. And your prayers increase in hopes that God has a plan, and He is going to show you, He is going to open up that door for you. But even with your faith, its hard to see God's plan in all of this. You wait for the next struggle to drop, because at times that seems to be all that is happening.
I have great faith, I do have hope. I have belief in God and I know He loves us and He is right here with us through it all. But the question is where are those who say they love you? Where have they gone? You begin to lose faith in those around you, for you now feel alone. But right in the midst of that doubt someone steps forward showing you grace and mercy. They are lending a hand, and they are reaching out to you.
If it were not for our parents we would have lost all we have by now. I am so thankful for their love, and sacrifice for us.
When you hear from a friend that her husband just got a job, you rejoice with them, you are so excited to hear that the burden is being lifted.
In the midst of these struggles, God does show Himself in many ways. In the quietest moments you can hear Him and that gives you hope. You can find laughter and you really find yourself. You know what is important and you come together to stand. You encourage daily, and you hold the hand the one who you know is hurting.
The next time you turn on the news, and they show the unemployment line, say a prayer those who are hurting, they might even be the ones right next to you. I am blessed to see those in the same situation as us reaching out to one another. It is almost like a brotherhood of sorts. Those who know the pain are the ones reaching out to others.
Lord, thank You for being with us during this trial. Others have come and you have seen us through, and You again will bring us through this one, and the ones to come. I praise You for Your grace and giving us humble hearts, full of compassion to those around us. Lift us up Lord, and may those hurting turn to You. May our faith increase and may we forever praise Your name.