Friday, December 24, 2004


I posted this as a response to a comment on my last entry, but I feel the need to post it on the main page as well. Take it how you will.

Well, you know I appreciate you comments. And even though I don't write about it every day, the fact of the matter is that I do know how fortunate I am. I thank God every day that:

  • I had both of my parents around for the 22 and 24 years that I did have them, and that they loved me enough to make incredible sacrifices for my happiness.
  • I have a roof over my head and a warm place to sleep tonight, unlike the people they showed at the St. Vincent DePaul shelter on the news last night, as BR had it's first hard freeze of the season.
  • I had an opportunity for a good education as a child despite growing up in the inner city, unlike so many children out there.
  • I have a job - even if it pays a pittance - unlike so many who have lost their jobs in the past month.
  • My job requires me to do the extremely boring task of manipulating data all day long, unlike the men and women serving in the military who wak up in the morning not knowing if they will see the night.
  • That the student loan people allowed me to attend and complete college, even if I can't find a job that will allow me to pay them back.
  • That I have been able to find a faith community in a different denominationthat has shown me kindness when my own did not.
  • For all the little things God has blessed me with in my life, and there have been a lot of them.
  • For the fact that God allowed Himself to become incarnate in Jesus and allowed Himself to be sacrificed as payment for my sins.
  • That God loves me despite my faults and imperfections.

But the fact remains that I'm frustrated that I've been dealt a pretty lousy hand the past several of years including:

  • Unjustly losing my job in January because the church I worked for wanted to hire the son of a founding (and very wealthy) parishioner for political reasons.
  • Being treated no better than the gum on the bottom of the shoes of the people in the parish I worked for for 18 months before that because I committed the unforgivable sin of growing up in a working class family in the north.
  • Being offered two good jobs this past summer, one of which I really wanted, but being unable to take them because I couldn't afford to move.
  • Temping at the same company for nine months, been told that I'm a real asset, and then having the department fail to put hiring me in the budget. Meanwhile, it would probably cost them less to hire me than what they are paying the temp agency every week.
  • Worrying every time I get a sniffle that it is something more and panicking over what I will do if it comes down to that, considering my PCP charges $80 for an office visit if you don't have insurance and that that is almost 1/3 of my weekly pay, and knowing that I can't receive primary care at the charity hospital because my pay comes to $18700 a year, and to qualify for primary care you can't make over $18000 as a single person.
  • Panicking every time my car makes a funny noise because I don't have any spare money to fix it and public transportation in BR sucks, to be blunt. If I don't have a car, I can't work.
  • Losing both of my parents within two years of each other before I turned 25, and having my remaining relatives reject me utterly after the died for reasons known only to them.
  • Spending most holidays alone, and feeling like an interloper when I'm invited to spend them with someone else.

Yes, I do have internet access, and a DVD player (bought for $30 when I had a job that paid almost twice what my current one does. My ISP fees and my Netflix membership constitute my entire entertainment budget for the month. I don't ever eat out. I don't ever go to the movies. I don't buy CD's or DVD's or books. I don't buy new clothing. I get my haircut at the local beauty school for cheap.

I do give money to my church and to charity. I do do volunteer work through the company I temp for and on my own. I do buy fast food gift certificates to give to the folks panhandling by the interstate.

The fact of the matter is that I whine in my blog so that I don't whine in real life. If I can put my frustrations down in writing for myself and whatever anonymous people wander in here to see, I can get through the day without sniping at my co-workers, whose continual talks about the frivoulous way they spend money drives me crazy. I can get through the day without crying because my job is so incredibly boring and doesn't allow me to use the skills I have. I can put on a happy face for all the world to seedespite the fact that I'm in pain on the inside, and no one is the wiser.

Oh, and I couldn't care less about the commercialism of Christmas. My best Christmas ever was the year when money was really tight for my family and all I got was a sweater, a package of Snack Pack pudding, and a deck of cards. What made it wonderful was the fact that it was just me and my parents and it was incredibly peaceful and just...right.

I know I'm not the only one suffering this holiday season. There are a lot of other people out there who are lonely, or sick, or otherwise unhappy. And I grieve for them just as much as I grieve for myself. I hate injustice in all it's forms. I may gripe about not having health insurance myself and not being able to seek medical care, but I know that there are millions of other people out there in the same boat. I know that I am not the only person in America who is underemployed; with the economy the way it is, there are millions. And I know that despite the fact that I've been dealt a pretty lousy hand, there are a whole lot of people a whole lot worse off than I am.

I'm sorry if this sounds harsh. But the fact of the matter is that it is impossible to know someone from meager words on a page or on a computer screen. I don't think that it's fair that you seemed to have judged me on just a few blog entries. I wouldn't presume to do the same to you.

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