Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The black cloud that follows, and why people try to avoid people with them

Dennis Miller has a great saying on his radio show. He is an advocate of helping the helpless, not the hopeless. Despite our adversity, we are doing what we can not to be a burden to others, we take responsibility for the things we do, and try to get by on our own efforts. It is hard to go through 10 months of unemployment with no visible means unless one works hard at making sure responsibilities are met. We do not blame others for our situation. And most certainly, we believe that we should ensure that we resolve our problems as best we can without having to depend on others. We aren't receiving snap  or SSI benefits and have only applied for those benefits in which we thought we were eligible for (with the intent that once I find a job, that such benefits will no longer be needed). We aren't applying for the free Obama phone nor are we trying to get benefits that will take away from others truly in need. 

Twice in the past 2 days, I've encountered someone who worries that I speak too much about the negatives in our life (the black cloud) and not enough about the positives. I take such observations to heart as I honestly feel  that despite the adversity, that we lead very comfortable lives. So the fact we are facing so much adversity should show others that despite such adversity, that such situations can be survivable if one stays ahead of such situations. That black cloud is the enemy, and so far... we are staying ahead of the enemy (otherwise, we would be homeless and would be completely dependent on others) In my comments, I always try to point out what good we are seeing (and I try to bring up the upside). I am always aware that there are others who are in worse situations than ours. I try not to "gauge" how much adversity we are dealing with, instead, I just report the facts as I see them (and let the reader make up their own mind as to what we are facing).

I find that the hard part is that some people just don't want to hear anything negative (and yet, I see the National Enquirer has a huge circulation, Jerry Springer and TMZ gets large ratings, etc.). The hopeless are those who (despite many efforts of others to help) do not learn from their experiences and make the same mistakes over and over again (and who are not grateful for the help they receive). For example, Penny and I try to help others (even while we are receiving help), as we have a lot of time on our hands and that we can contribute in abundance. When a fire in a Huntley apartment building in February forced 5 families to move, we acted to coordinate the relief effort and were able to get furniture, food, and a lot of basic essentials to those families. As a result, our adversity turned into a pay it forward opportunity. When opportunity knocks, one answers the call.

Our situation is not normal and I started this blog is to speak about many things that affect us that people normally do not speak about. I am hoping that people learn how to tackle a problem by our example. The only way to do that is to put the information out there. Let me put it this way...

Penny and I do not have a large supportive extended "family" (either due to geography or due to familial adversity). That is not to say that the family we do interact with is not supportive, but it is to say that the means of those we interact with is limited. Its just a fact of life. We don't complain about it and have accepted our situation. 3 of our 4 children just do not interact with us due to various reasons (interference in our parenting for example that has essentially sabotaged the long term relationship). Our son Travis (on the other hand) is deeply entrenched in our lives. But he is also developmentally disabled and has the least means to help us when we go through adversity.

Our support network (essentially, our "family") is our former co-workers, friends and those whom we have befriended via our church. Ever since Penny got off Life Support last year, we truly have the support of many and it is evident in our daily lives. We consider ourselves very fortunate to know so many caring people and there isn't a day we don't thank God for their continued interactions with our lives.

We have faced much in the past 22 years, and yet we do not see it as a Black Cloud... we see it as opportunities to learn and to grow in our lives. We hope that on some days, people will glean a few gems from our blog that will inspire others or such gems will teach how to face such adversities (making lemonade out of lemons). We hope that our faith in God (and in Jesus Christ) will inspire without sounding "preachy". God is in our lives and it is a fact of our lives, however... we also are human beings and are fallible. It is not for us to judge others, it is only for us to provide guidance (and steer others in a direction that will help and/or inspire). Jesus inspires us and we dare to dream of a life beyond our earthly ones. At the end of the day, we spend a certain amount of our lives on this Earth. We hope that over time, some will join us on that journey (and in the end, continue that journey with us beyond our earthy shells). It is a dream we have......

1 comment:

  1. Erik, did you miss the part where I said: "Penny and I do not have a large supportive extended "family" (either due to geography or due to familial adversity). That is not to say that the family we do interact with is not supportive, but it is to say that the means of those we interact with is limited. Its just a fact of life."

    Of course, you are family and YOU are supportive. However, let's use Ronda's family as an example here. Her family is extensive and is in this area (and our family is elsewhere either in NY or across the Ocean). By sheer numbers, there can be multiple people chipping in at any given moment. Regarding our family, it is only you or I when something happens to us.


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