Sunday, March 8, 2009

When the water rises

It must be Lent; I've been playing with images since I returned from my after-church coffee, and all of them have this tormented quality.

Which is curious, because I'm not feeling particularly tormented -- life is running reasonably smoothly at the moment. But the news that 650,000 people have lost their jobs this month alone... Even if only half of those people are married, and only a quarter of them have children, that still means over a million new people are now facing seriously challenging economic hardship.

How could there not be a sense of torment in the air? How can those of us who still have our heads above water not be conscious that the water is getting higher and that more and more people are drowning in debt and fear? And how do we continue to hold out hope when things are looking so terrifyingly dark?

We have no choice in times like these but to support one another: to give as much as we are able, to release what we can, and -- as my friend Karen's FLYlady says -- to get really conscious about allowing that which we've been saving in case we might need it to bless someone else who needs it NOW.

So if you are one of the struggling ones, I send you my prayers and pray, not just that you will find a job, but that you will not lose hope. And if you are someone who still has "enough" -- whatever that is, I pray you will look closely and see if perhaps it may be MORE than enough. Figure out what the difference is, and find a way to share.


Anonymous said...

One of my favourite things about Islam is that basically, unless you're living on the wire, charity is required. It's a fixed percentage that you have to give every year, like 2.5% of your total income at the very least. I just found a Zakat calculator (which was, granted, last updated in 2000) that says I should be giving $52.48 this year.

I think I already spent that in charity for Byron's gift, but isn't that interesting?

Diane Walker said...

Christians are a bit fiercer about that -- and, of course, frequently fail to live up to the goal they set. The Christian practice is known as tithing -- meaning, a tenth of what you make should go to charity. We do that as best we can, but some years are easier than others.