Our current economic situation is finally giving the rest of the country a glimpse of what many in our country have been perpetually experiencing for generations. hardship is now being tasted across class systems no matter what side of the tracks you live on. though the disparity of hardship is still greatly different you have to wonder how those who have been long suffering in our cities feel about all of these middle class americans complaining about times being tough.
many people are finding it challenging to get credit [might this be a good thing for us long term?] and get a job. i find it interesting that so many churches are immediately jumping to act and put together plans to help those who are in trouble right now. it is amazing what the Church will do when hardship becomes personal.
hardship has been a constant roommate in the house of those who have lived in poverty. the siren of urgency for their perpetual crisis comes and goes on the fleeting emotions of seasonally selfless people. now many of these seasonally selfless people are hurting and are in need. they are finding out for themselves that when jobless and homeless aren’t just words to describe someone from the other side of town but now describe one of your friends or even you…everything changes. hardship is becoming personal for america because it has moved into the neighborhoods and into the homes of those who thought they were immune. hardship is no longer just a place we visit or a face we faintly remember meeting when we drove in our church van to those “poor neighborhoods”. many of us have never known hardship. we’ve never been this intimate with it. in the past hardship has been someone to visit. in the present hardship has unpacked its bags and now lives in your bedroom between you and your spouse. hardship has moved from someone else’s story to our own.
but what might happen now to a city that can identify with financial pain, crisis and hardship across class systems? how might a new dose of empathy injected into our social systems change our perspective on local and global community transformation? maybe it will never happen. but what if it did?
may this season of hardship and trial teach us empathy and compassion unlike any other other moment in our history. may we never forget how it feels to be foreclosed on and unable to find a decent paying job. may our unmet needs be burned into our story so that we never forget what has been constant in the lives of so many others.