Monday, February 18, 2008

The modern day Jobs

In the Bible, there is a famous story about a man named Job. Job was wealthy--one of the wealthiest men in the country--with ten children and thousands of herd animals. And a great wind came and took everything he had except his wife. He developed terrible boils all over his body. Misery was Job's name. His friends urged him to curse God and die.

In the modern era, we all know people--who like Job--just can't seem to catch a break. These are hardworking, responsible people who end up with the short end of the stick through no fault of their own. Unfortunately, the vast majority of them are women with children. Or the elderly. In this day and age it takes frighteningly little to put them on the streets. A job layoff, an extended illness, a vehicle that suddenly doesn't run... all are disasters with terrible consequences.

In my extended family, there are at least four young women who hover on the brink of daily disaster, living from moment to moment, praying that nothing will tip them over that crumbling edge taking their innocent children with them. Parents (and sometimes even grandparents) scramble to hold them back from the point of no return. Why?

Because there is no safety net out there. There are too many Jobs and not enough social programs, churches, government plans to catch all of them. Food banks are out of food. Federal dollars are stretched so far that they squeal in protest.

What can we do? I don't know. I do know that there are people who "have" who look the other way, uncomfortable and embarrassed when their local Job is brought to their notice. Maybe they think that bad fortune will rub off on them--that it's contagious. It doesn't take much sharing to make a difference.

Five percent. That's what it takes. If everyone contributed five percent of their time or money, that's all it would take. Everyone can volunteer time. How long does it take to change the oil in a car? Or paint a room? Or take someone to the grocery store? How long? How long does it take to shovel your neighbor's walk while you're doing your own? Or mow their grass? Or cook an extra serving of tonight's dinner?

When we think of solutions, we think of huge grand plans, but what we need are person to person answers for the daily problems that the Jobs around us face. They don't want a hand-out. They want a job. They want a life. They want to be as independent and self-sufficient as the rest of us. They just need a helping hand to get back on their feet. Temporary assistance.

Do you know a Job? Think about what you can do to lend them that helping hand. Maybe that young woman needs a baby sitter so that she can go to job interviews. Perhaps she needs bus money for the first couple weeks until she gets paid. So often the needs are small and the results are life changing.

And please, please, please don't say the fatal words to you local Job..."If you need anything, just let me know!" It won't ever happen. There is nothing more humiliating that having to ask for help. Nothing. Use your powers of observation. And offer that help before things reach the do or die stage. Am I my brother (or sister's) keeper? Yes.


Stop by Amarinda's place for the latest installment in Aussie life. Maybe she's taken up sky-diving. And then hop over to Kelly's blog to see what she's up to today. Blessings on your day. We have winners in the Eternally Yours contest. Tomorrow I'll post them on the blog!


  1. What can I say? You are absoluetly right and yet I doubt, unfortunately, such words of wisdom will do a damn thing to change to the haves and the havenots

  2. Amen, sister. Too many people look the other way...

  3. And some people think the Jobs of the world got there through sloth or carelessness. Yes there are people who abuse the system, but sometimes they are regular folk who fell on hard times.