My husband is presently unemployed, courtesy of our government. While the powers that be figure out solutions, he sleeps in, walks our kids home from school, and reads books in the backyard.
All in all, not a bad way to spend a day. Except for the not-getting-paid part.
And the being-deemed- “non-essential” part.
I read people’s comments about the politics of the matter, and I try to understand. I know that ideology matters, and people value their beliefs. But when my husband is lumped into comments about “government waste,” it smarts a bit.
When I am told, innocently or not, that others will “pick up his slack” or “the government was never meant to be an employer,” or, my personal favorite, “surely, you thought to prepare for this,” my insides churn.
And, when folks complain about missing television programs, while we are potentially missing paychecks, I’m hurt.
Elie Wiesel says that hate is not the opposite of love—indifference is.
And the fact of the matter, is that I am guilty, in so many ways, of indifference. Only when the politics becomes personal do I find myself physically and emotionally called to respond.
And so, I understand that the world keeps churning, and my life is another person’s abstraction. Other people have the benefit of proclaiming that they won’t be “held hostage” by the government.
This too shall pass. For me.
But for others, like, say, the majority of my Spanish friends in YEAR SEVEN of an economic crisis, things haven’t passed. And maybe they won’t for awhile.
They rent out their homes to strangers so they won’t lose them, and make sure their children speak another language, so they can find work outside of Spain. This culture, so rooted in family and history, prepares for goodbyes and distance, because they dream for their children.
And so, while I cannot let the problems of the world consume me, I can fight the featherlight shackles of indifference.
Today, we’re dealing with nonsense. Tomorrow, it will be somebody else. Will I summon the courage to care, to respond, and to act? Even if it makes me uncomfortable?