Saturday, November 1, 2008

The Financial Mess We're In

How have the recent economic and political events impacted your spirituality?  Vibrant Nation, a site for 50+ women to share information and join conversations, wanted to know.   This was my response:

As I reflect on your question, I can't help but think that God is once again testing me on my perseverance, creativity, and intelligence and I fear that I will fall short of His expectations but by golly, I'll do whatever it takes not to:
Let it hurt my marriage (money is always an issue)
Spend more than we have (resist temptation)
Use up savings (now I'm really getting nervous)
Be apathetic when I can have my say (especially at the ballot box).

You see, I am the daughter of Depression-Era parents.  My dad doesn't count as much because he lived in the country and had a home so he could trade goods and services.  But mom lived in the city and felt every minute hunger pain just like most of her community.  Consequently, she learned to use everything sparingly.  In fact, I think she was one of the first to coin "recycling" before it gained popularity.

My husband and I did all the right things (so I thought)--paid our taxes, doled out our share to charities, saved for rainy days (and there were plenty) and planned for retirement.  I'm just grateful that we decided to delay retirement and keep plugging along.  All those people who counted only on Social Security and investment income are out-of-luck and sadly (and rightfully so), extremely fearful about running out of money.

I hear my prayers loud and clear to "make this crisis end" in harmony with my friends and my parents' generation.  How sad that too many of the "Greatest Generation" has to live their final years in despair.

I can't say that I don't think of the people who took their lives when their fortunes reversed in 1929.  But ultimately I am an optimist and though I don't understand God's motives, I am hopeful something good will come out of this financial mess.  Could it be a:
Deeper understanding of ourselves?
More empathy for others?
Greater understanding of how we got to this point so that we can prevent it from recurring?
Wake up call for our government to stop giving away our jobs and save them (even if we have to subsidize them) for the down-and-outters, rebuilding their confidence and self-esteem?
Turning point for mankind to redefine and question heroism, greed, and intelligence (the wealthy and the privileged are not smarter than the rest of us--each of us need not throw away our brains and behave passively because we think we don't know as much as someone else)?

Please, God, your points are made.  You have awakened us bluntly to a mismanaged world and our need to take responsibility.  May you show compassion and not let too many people suffer.


Diane J Standiford said...

We all should have learned from our parents. I did. My motto always: spend less than I can afford. Sooo, I'm doing fine. How can I complain when people live in boxes outside my apt. bldg? I am blessed.

Shirley said...

This was really powerful, Susie. I’m printing it out so I can digest more readily by rereading.