It’s our week in the land of the free and the home of the brave.
The week when we dust off our patriotism, unfurl our star-spangled banners, and hitch our pride a little higher celebrating the land and country we love.
‘Merica A people united by an air of fierce independence and the ideal of unrestrained opportunity… a strange mix even on the best of days.
Somewhere at sometime, someone once said, “Necessity is the Mother of Invention.” Experience has taught me truth in this and that very often, Hunger is her muse.
It’s a lesson my husband and I learned well through years of trying to keep a few pennies ahead in the positive column as self(un)employed artists raising and homeschooling a family.
There have been some really “creative” periods over the years and I sorta pride myself in my ability to “make do”…DO. I tend to think I can manage on very little and find alternative ways to make up the lack. Second-hand is fine; homemade is better. By the grace of God, we’ve always had everything we’ve needed and most of what we’ve wanted as well.
So if you asked about my current state of affairs, I gladly admit to being humbly content…sweetly satisfied. Blessed….without a hint of materialism or an air of entitlement in my soul.
Not much anyway.
Well…maybe just a titch.
Ok… a titch and a half!
I don’t like to think so. I don’t like to think I’m all that materialistic or have much of an entitlement attitude but a recent event has caused me to stop and “check my privilege”.
Allergies. It began with allergies.
Nasally stuff, you know… dust, dander and the what-not that plagues us here in the South. Nothing major but we’ve kept it at bay with a little red pseudophed in the mornings.
Sadly, we live in a world where evil seems to have a free reign, so this formerly over the counter medicine has moved up under tighter regulation. Now you have to show ID, sign for it, only so much can be bought, yada, yada, yada.
So we do it. No biggie…right?
Until it seems we get “profiled”.
On our way to an outdoor church event, dressed down and a little raggety for outdoor play, we decide to stop and get this and a few things before the pharmacy closes. No dice. The pharmacist on duty cites a “new regional policy” and nothing we say can sway her decision.
Ya’ll…. she’s serious. I’m LIV-id— the “trying-not-to-cry-I’m-so-stinkin-mad” kind of livid.
Polite, but point blank I ask why, after months of shopping and following the rules at this store is it suddenly not OK.
Looking at me she replies, “It’s the new policy because there are a lot of dirt-bag meth heads around here.”
We left empty-handed. A follow-up with the National company left us wanting for “justice” because they leave it to the discretion of their pharmacists to make these types of policy calls. An apologetic call from the store’s manager confirms the same.
I stew and fume for days.
I mean.. seriously?!??! Do I look like a “dirt-bag meth head” to YOU?!?!
Wait….don’t answer that.
Wait…. because it really doesn’t matter.
Calming down, I realized that my problem was not so much that I didn’t get what I thought I needed, or that there was the distinct probability we’d been labeled. The problem went deeper.
I was angry because I didn’t get what I wanted AND the respect I felt I deserved along with it.
I was angry because I don’t like being told no.
I don’t like being told I can’t have something.
I have “rights” you know!
This is ‘MERICA dang it!
Well, apparently some “rights” weigh in more heavily than others and the abuses of some can mar the rights of us all. Evil is like that.
I was shocked to see the ugly rear up in my heart so immediately and self-righteously. Suddenly, my eyes are opened to how, even in America, others are dealing with this every day as they are denied a good or service based on their appearance or other such determinant.
Hidden slightly below that realization is my neglect to see, no less acknowledge, how blessed…. fortunate— dare I say…. LUCKY I am to live in a country and a location where right down the street I have access to *everything* I need and most of what I want. Medicine. Milk. At least 100 varieties of ice-cream.
I forget that WAY too often.
I seldom stop to think about it.
And I need to think about it.
Not feel guilty, but to acknowledge the bounty of my blessings and all I have to share.
It’s been pounding in my heart for weeks now— this story and revelation have been further compounded by the numbers of people I’ve encountered who really do not realize the nature of this story in Africa.
I don’t blame them….part of the reason we will go is to tell the story and show what’s being done to help. It’s a tall order. Complicated.
Confusion marked with ignorance or fueled by propaganda and corruption is allowing HIV/AIDS to decimate communities, families and almost an entire generation.
Even when medicines are available, caregivers, transportation, logistics,
clean water, food and …honesty…are not.
Health care and humanitarian aid organizations are doing what they can to keep up with the crisis, to care for and educate those in need but the numbers are staggering. Don’t misunderstand; the situation is not under control.
And yet….this is their DAILY life.. ..what they know and surprisingly, in many cases, we have been told that the people are joyful, thankful… living in gratefulness for what they have.
And those who are sick, in need and near the end, when someone arrives with a hospice bucket, they are so stinkin’ blessed by a few tubes of Carmex and some socks. Shoot, they’re blessed by the bucket itself!
So yeah… what was I… sitting in my 2400-sq foot, air-conditioned home with indoor plumbing, 2 pillows and a comfortable bed, 5 cats, 2 dogs, a garden and plenty of food to spare, …what was I complaining about?
I really don’t remember.