Tuesday, October 8, 2013

True Stories from the Trenches of Government Furlough

Government Shutdown. 

It conjures up images of the beginnings of an odd war/zombie/apocalypse movie. 
In reality, the world isn't ending.  Zombies still don't exist.  War hasn't begun. 
Our government is simply fighting with itself.  That's normal, right? 

They've forgotten that real people live in those dots all over the map of the US, and some of us, many of us, are feeling pretty forgotten right now.  The impacts of the inability of the government to decide how our nation should be run are far reaching and incredibly frustrating to many families.

Some people probably haven't even noticed that the government is shut down, at least in part is shut down. Yet, for some of us, the effects set in deeply October 1st, and we're now in it for the long haul.

Read this article to see how the shutdown is hurting various places around the country
The media is starting to pick up on the closed national parks and how families who live in them are being forced to leave home.  Um, really?  Enough said.  The national park closures also affect the virtual field trip to Ellis Island that I use with my student about this time each year.  All national parks websites and many other government websites are down right now.  Joy.  So, back to old school teaching I go. 
The worst part is watching a spouse have to sit at home.  Isaac is employed and has a job with a functioning contract.  However, Isaac can't go to work.  The government won't let him.  Because of that functioning contract, he can't apply for another job.  Yet, he can apply for unemployment benefits from the state....huh?!

So many people keep telling him it must be nice to have a paid vacation and how jealous they are.  It's taken all my Jesus strength not to slug some folks a few times.  A day or two off might be nice.  Sure, we all like a paid holiday to stretch out at home and play 'catch up'. However, The Senate has yet to pass the bill guaranteeing that the government workers will receive back pay.  Paid vacation, this isn't, yet.  And, even if the bill does pass, no one will see the pay until the shutdown is finished. The uncertainty of that little fact is rubbing plenty of nerves raw all across the nation.   I feel for parents of children who were planning on starting Christmas shopping this month.  A family can Dave Ramsey their budget all they want, but any time there is a lack of or lapse in pay, it hurts.  It causes stress.  Then, there's the emotional part.  Try having your own government tell you that you aren't important enough to be at work.  That doesn't feel so good.  No, no one will die if Isaac doesn't show up at NASA,  and I get that, but what he does is still important.  Many people are starting to feel unappreciated.  No one wants to be the pawn in some power game.  Then, there's the loneliness.  I have to be at school.  Isaac's friends are at work.  He doesn't want to call people to meet up for lunch because that's money out of our pockets when there is food at home.  Projects around the house are only entertaining for so long. 
**On the funny side, because there always has to be a funny side, there's my poor truck.  This furlough has to end soon, or I'm worried Sarge won't survive it.  I left it home with Isaac last week so he could do some errands with him, and Sarge got a busted windshield and a dead battery.  At least my husband is one smart man and had him fixed up both days before I returned home.  :)  Nobody messes with a woman and her truck.**

I know, all of this sounds depressing.  Honestly, it is.  Still, God is bigger.  Isaac has hours on end of uninterrupted time studying the Bible and praying that I've personally been missing a lot since school resumed.  Friends are inviting us over for dinner to help cut grocery costs and to provide fellowship.   My parents have bent over backwards to feed and entertain us.  Gift cards have appeared in my box at work.  God is providing, and He's using His church to do it.  It's a beautiful thing. 
Paul reminds us of this truth in 2 Corinthians 4:7-17:
 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11 For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. 12 So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.13 It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.”[b] Since we have that same spirit of[c] faith, we also believe and therefore speak, 14 because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you to himself. 15 All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

This is just a short trial.  No one will die.  We might get discouraged, but we don't stop trusting in God.  We might get annoyed, but our peace comes through Jesus and His eternal promises.  We might not eat as fun and as large of a variety of meals for a while, but God provides our needs.  This trial is nothing compared to Christ's suffering so that we may know Him.  None of this is meant to make light of trials that push us and mold us and cause us to ache, but it is a reminder that when focus stays on Christ, all trials seem more bearable.  I then see the good that can come from it. 
Think about your friends and neighbors.  Are they hurting from this shutdown?  Are they feeling like pawns in a giant's game of power?  Mail them some words of encouragement, invite them over for dinner, or host a game night to get them out of the house.  They'll appreciate it, and God will use you to meet their needs.  :)

1 comment:

Income Protection said...

Relying on other means of securing our finances should be prioritized in case of another Government shut down.

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