This edition of Convergent Streams is dedicated to raising awareness to the plight of our homeless friends and family. It is a plight that has been on my mind more and more since my wife’s hospitalization in January.
You see, my wife is the sole breadwinner in our home. We decided years ago that because of her degree and work in the medical field, she could make more money than I could. So, she would go to work and I would stay home and take care of our daughter and my mother-in-law who was ill. This turned into a nearly twenty-year, full time job! However, it was a job that did not pay.
After my wife was hospitalized in January and was out of work for almost a month, the reality that we were just one paycheck from the street became all too real. It is a nice soundbite to hear when politicians spout their promises they will never keep. However, it is much more frightening and depressing when it is all but certain that you will lose everything.
My friends and family in the church, and even some from other churches, helped to keep us afloat during this difficult time. For that, I am eternally grateful. Then came the news that some of the reason my wife ended up hospitalized was that the workplace she had been at for over 16 years was extremely toxic. This meant that for her to heal, she would need to find a new, less toxic place to work.
So, we dusted off her resume and she started applying to other hospitals and clinics. It did not take long for one to respond. Unfortunately, the hospital that replied pays less. The work environment is so much better and almost completely devoid of toxic people! You cannot put a price tag on my wife’s mental health.
Yet, I find myself once again facing the possibility that we will have to scale back. We have cut everything down to the bare minimum. Many things, like our internet, satellite and cell phones are still under contracts that we cannot afford to break. The bank is currently considering taking our house if they feel we cannot afford it anymore. And student loans are at bay only for the moment.
And then there are the ever-growing pile of medical bills that come in almost daily now. Even making what my wife makes, we are faced with losing the house and car. I am working to find employment that I can do with the health issues I have that can bring in at least $1,000 a month. That would help to offset the loss in pay my wife took to go to her new job and help us to survive and catch up.
Just this week, I had to go to battle with our new health insurance company. They felt that it was perfectly acceptable to demand that I pay $525 for a 90 day supply of my diabetes medication. I used to pay $30 for a 90 day supply. It is the never-ending saga when it comes to insurance companies in the United States.
We have been lucky so far. We still have a car and a house. We still have internet and cell phones. We still have food and water. And we still have medications and doctors’ visits.
There are so very many who do not have any of that.
And don’t think that I am speaking out of turn. I have lived in my car before! When I was 17 and my parents threw me out of the house for dating a Baptist, I had to live in my car for two weeks in the middle of summer in Kentucky. It was not pleasant, and I had no where to go and no one to turn to. Thankfully, it only lasted two weeks. Regardless, it was enough to make me thankful for anything I had!
The reality is that my story is not unique. So many people live it every day. So many have it even worse than I have had it or ever will have it. That is why I still try to help those who need it even when I really can’t afford to survive myself. Because I know that in just a month or two, I may be living in the cardboard box next to them.
Remember to help those who are less fortunate than yourself. Remember to show them the love and compassion of the Christ. Because in doing so, you are helping Christ!
Until next time,
Blessings and all my love!
The Right Rev. Gregory Godsey, OSFoc is the Managing Editor of Convergent Streams. He is the Presiding Bishop of the Old Catholic Churches International and the Bishop Ordinary of the Diocese of Saint Maximilian Kolbe (AL, FL, GA, and SC). He is also the Director of the Office of Communications and Media Relations for the OCCI. He lives in North Augusta, South Carolina with his wife and son.