Monday, January 17, 2011

My Book's Cover

I'm gonna be honest. There have been times in my life where I held some pretty heavy opinions about things. Over the years God has taught me lessons about seeing both sides before making a judgement. I wrote a blog about it last November call "Never is a Four Letter Word".

One of the lessons I have learned over the last year is not to judge a book by it's cover.

My cover says I am doing well financially, have a beautiful family, iPhone, nice house, mini-van and not a care in the world! The book says that due to 23 weeks of pregnancy bed rest I lost my well paying job as well as my family's insurance. We had to struggle just to get state help. I fought to get pre-natal care through the state and insurance for my children. We were blessed with food stamps and W.I.C. (Women Infants & Chilren is a nutrition program that supplies families in need with nutricious foods). But also humbled by weekly trips to our church's food bank. Our friends and family paid our bills and cared for our children while we struggled to keep our house. I wish I had known about while I was on bed rest. They help families stay afloat when bed rest occurs.

What many people don't understand is that bed rest moms are in a legal grey area. We don't qualify for unemployment becasue we are not physically able to work. We also don't qualify for state disability. And in our case, we didn't qualify for state financial help because my husband made $100 too much.

So what happens when the average America loses thier job- for whatever reason- and needs help?

We have been able to keep our house and I now qualify for unemployment while I look for a new job. But in the mean time our family still relies on food stamps & W.I.C. to help our household budget since my unemployment comes in about $12/hr less than what I was making. So yes. While I use to judge people who rolled up to the welfare office in their Lexus and collected their W.I.C. while dripping in gold, I now get it. I drive a mini-van, carry a Coach diaper bag (a gift from my father in law who passed last year), and schedule my next W.I.C. appointment in my iPhone. I also pay for my groceries with food stamps and W.I.C. vouchers. I know that people may be judging my book by its cover. That they may, just as I once had, figure I'm scamming the system. There are people who scam the system and that's sad. Because in this current recession I feel that I am not the exception but rather I am the rule.

So many Americans still have the "things" they had prior to losing their jobs, they just don't have the money to buy essentials or keep a roof over their heads and therefore they need help. I've sold many of our personal items over the past year to pay bills (Thanks goodness for ebay!). But there are a few things I haven't parted with yet. The Coach diaper bag has sentimental value. The iPhone I keep because I will need it when I get a job (and I WILL get a job!), and I need the nice van to haul my 3 children around safely.

So lesson #3,239,987 in my life is not to judge a book by its cover. You life as you know it isn't garunteed. It's not a given. And the people you pass judgement on may not be in control of their situation either.

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