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Mar 11 2009

People are losing their every-lovin’ minds and I feel guilty

Have you noticed? The world is in a frightened spiral, gasping and flopping like a caught fish. The economy has more than tanked; it has fallen to the floor, been eaten by the dog, and crapped out a day later…only to be sniffed by another dog. People are freaking out. Social safety nets aren’t strong enough to hold the people falling through the cracks. There have been at least three horrific shootings in the last four days; one of them, the church shooting on Sunday, was the home church of some friends of ours. They were not there, thank God, because the husband was traveling and the wife was running late because of Daylight Savings. I’m so grateful their kids were not there for that, one of them has autism and…sigh…I can’t even begin to imagine how that would have affected him.

I talk to friends who are moving across the country for a better job. I talk to friends who desperately need to find a job. I talk to friends who may have to sell their house because jobs are so scarce.

And I feel guilty.

I don’t need to work. I want to work, and I have a home-based business that allows me to work on my terms…mostly. If I were to need to find an outside job, I’d be royally screwed. I’m not qualified for much, because staying home for the kids and raising them to be productive members of society isn’t a marketable characteristic. I could go back to teaching, or get on the local districts’ sub lists, but dang. I left teaching for a reason. Mental health is a reason.

Tom has a good job and despite the economy (knockwoodmylipstoGod’searspinaroundthreetimesandspit) it’s stable. We’ve made good decisions in the past, like buying a home that we could afford without cutting back elsewhere, and not carrying a lot of bad debt. Despite my excursions to Costco that leave me without a left lung, I don’t shop much, and hit the sales more often than not. We’re putting off all big purchases and home improvements for at least a year and the Disney trip for the summer is paid in full.

But I feel guilty.

I see on the news every night about families going hungry, about families losing their homes, about tent cities going up. Here, in this country, in the 21st century, we have families living in tent cities, not because of a natural disaster but a man-made one. This is not right.

And I feel guilty.

I don’t know what to do, but I do know this. It will probably get worse before it gets better. I suspect it’s going to get much worse before it gets much, much better. I know that I can’t do much, but I’ll do what I can. I’ll cut back further here at home and do what I can to help others. It’s getting ugly out there, and we’re only going to make it through this by sticking together. Love thy neighbor.

But I still feel guilty.

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  1. RC

    I feel guilty and then I feel scared that we may be on that list at some point. Then I feel guilty for worrying, when so many have already hit bottom. We are trying to give more, live somewhat normally and hope for the best.

  2. Mama Zen

    I totally get what you’re saying. I feel weak from relief that we’re okay (crossing fingers, etc.), terrified that we won’t stay that way, and guilty that we have so much to lose when so many have already lost so much.

  3. melissaz

    I’m exactly the same way. Spouse’s job is pretty secure, or at least as secure as things can be, but it’s good. I don’t have to work, but I want to. I need to. And the extra cash will help us pay off some bills a little faster and give us some more breathing room.

    But yeah, I feel guilty that things are still pretty good for us. And the Austin area in general.

  4. cms8741

    I try not to listen to too much news. Then I don’t feel so guilty. Just ignorant. Ignorance equals bliss. So please believe me when I say I am living in pure, utter bliss.

  5. cms8741

    I had “sarcasm” tags around the phrase “I am living in pure, utter bliss,” and wordpress wiped them out! Dang wordpress.

  6. mrsvierkant

    We’re the same way here. Bought a modest house, live modestly, save our money, and I too feel guilty about having what we have. I’m also thankful. Very thankful. We have someone close to us who lost their home, went bankrupt and went through divorce. My heart breaks for them. But on the other hand some rather bad choices were made that brought them to that point. Then I don’t feel guilty, then I get angry. We make our house payments, we live beneath our means, and now we have to pay for those who made unwise choices. Then I feel guilty for being angry, and well it just cycles around. We give to the food bank, the local charities and try not to dwell on things too much. It is so hard not to though, when it is all around you.

    I’ll stop babbling now.

  7. Shea's Mom

    I feel guilty because for now, we are ok. The too saw the tent city articles and the families living in hotel rooms.

    But, instead of being angry at the family who made some bad choices, I am angry at predetory lenders and rip off artest bankers and scam-o ARP mortgage people that should be in jail.

    That just makes me angy. But, I don’t feel guilty about that.

  8. Denise@EatPlayLove

    I feel happy every month I write my measly mortgage check and bless my common sense for not doing an ARM so I could live above my means in Boulder (it was an option 6 years ago). Don’t feel guilty, just spread the love when you can, sometimes it only takes a smile.

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