Be the Change You Wish to See in the World

The country in which we live is sad, cruel and intolerant. My story will reach only so many people; however, I tell it whenever and wherever I can, hoping to change the hearts and touch the souls of those who would rather see a family starve or lose their child(ren) because they are homeless. The United States is not a third-world country, but we are an intolerable nation on its way down the path of destruction from within as a result of our greediness and apathy. I am not conservative or an overly religious person, but I do believe in God and Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. Do I believe in the “end times”? I am still not sure, but I would certainly like to see change before my son grows up, so he does not have to see the evil that has corrupted our world — our country.

I am 25 years-old and married to a 34 year-old man, who is now disabled because he has already suffered two heart attacks in his young life. We have one son. Until recently, I worked two part-time jobs, because my husband is not approved for Disability. He stayed at home with our son for seventeen months, taking care of him and recuperating. In February 2011, my husband went back to work part-time as a chef for our local casual Italian diner, and I am not employed at the public library. It is my dream job, but it is only part-time. With both of us working part-time, we do not make enough to live. Therefore, we receive a modest amount of Food Stamps every month, and yet people still condemn us because we need welfare. What people are too blind and cynical to see is how hard we work to support our family, how we strive to do the best we can. And, yes, I am looking for a new job'”one that will support us 110%. I am intelligent, and I have a strong skill set; I graduated from high school with honors in English and a 3.8 GPA. I have even gone back to school online and am pursuing my Associate degree in Communications. Despite my best efforts, I have not found a full-time or high-paying job.

Instead of compassion and understanding, I received criticism from people who tell me I should not have had a child because I cannot afford to feed him. What narrow-minded ignorance and cruelty. Let me enlighten you on one fact: My family was much better off before I got pregnant. We did not expect my husband to have a second heart attack, but he did, while I was pregnant.

There are many things I could have done differently, of course, to achieve success. For example, I could have stayed in college instead of dropping out and moving to Michigan. Do I regret what I did? No, I do not regret my decision because I would not have met my husband, who is from Michigan. I would not have my son, who is a beautiful, happy, and healthy bundle of joy! Are there things my husband could have done differently? Sure, perhaps. He does not have the skills that other men do; he is not an electrician, a technician, or a mechanic. He is also dyslexic, and he isn’t the best speller or typist. He could probably work more hours at the restaurant, but he is unable to handle the stress. Personally, I would rather not lose my husband to a third heart attack. We have only one (used) vehicle, on which we do not make payments, and we cannot afford to put our son in daycare, nor do we want our son raised by strangers.

I am not looking for a hand-out, and I do not need anyone’s pity. I will not lie; I am sad that I cannot provide for them the life they so deserve, but I believe that I will find a better job one day. I cannot guarantee it will get us off Food Stamps at first, but I will always strive towards that goal'”to be independent and self-reliant.

What I would like to implore upon you, especially if you are one of those people who hate welfare recipients, is — Life is not based solely on how much money you make, how successful or rich you can become, or how cruel you have to be towards others once you surpass them. Look around you. Do you have family, friends, a spouse, or children? Do you have faith in anything but yourself or money? Can you really look at a homeless person and feel nothing but disgust — not even the smallest bit of sadness? Do you know what it takes to have the aforementioned things? It takes love, kinship, conviction in something unseen, compassion, understanding, and empathy. I will tell you now these things are severely lacking in our world. As you can see, if you read my story, not everyone has the same resources or opportunities. Not everyone can overcome their obstacles. Some will be left behind. Should we criticize these people? Of course not!

Please, the next time an opportunity presents itself to do something charitable, you should do it. What do you have to lose? Your pride, dignity, a dollar bill? Remember, we may not all walk the same path in life, but we will all meet the cold snares of death. No one escapes death, but all of us have a chance to be the miracle in someone else’s life.