I received this letter this week and it touched my heart hearing about a single mom’s struggles from her point of view. I was gripped again with the desire to want to understand. I want to be aware that, YES, there are people who live in our country who don’t get to eat three meals a day. With her permission, I am posting her letter. I pray her words will not just move our hearts to sympathy, but burn a passion in us to make this personal and drive us to care. REALLY care, and not just say we care, or act because we want some good “God-karma”. I want to care till it hurts. THAT’s what a culture-rebel is.
I am a single (divorced) mom with 5, yes, five-boys, and we have to rely on God and the food bank more than I would like to. I am now on medical leave, yet I am waiting for income assistance to be approved. The child tax just went to pay this month’s rent. Next month? Not sure yet…hoping the next support payment doesn’t bounce like the last one did…
There is no such thing as pride when you stand in the lineup before the food bank opens, praying that no one you know drives by and sees you. You plaster a smile on your face when you would rather sink into the ground as friends refer to subsidized housing as slums…knowing you live in a co-op that is not much different.
The ‘sympathetic’ look from well-meaning people at your church only makes it worse; since you are certain not only that they truly have no idea what you are going through, but also that they are glad it isn’t them. You get tired of always asking for help, and wonder when it will end. Please understand: I have no problem relying on God. It is the fact that there are people I have to rely on as well which bothers me…because they are not reliable. Even when income assistance does come, it will pay the rent and bills, if I am lucky.
Which brings me back to the food bank. I am thankful for the huge amounts of tuna we get…since I had to send an extra sandwich with each of them to compensate for the lack of a snack/fruit. Today, my 2nd son turns 12. I pulled from what little gas money I had to pick up a few wraps to make tacos (light on the fixings) for his special dinner. I am thankful I had a cake mix already in the cupboard for the past few months, or he would not have one either. (I also used my Future Shop card to get him an Indiana Jones movie he wanted…I am just glad there was still room on it! 😉
I found it ironic that your recent post addressed not eating for a day. So many take the 3 meals a day for granted. Honestly, I cannot remember the last time I had 3 meals in one day. I was shocked to discover the other day that I had actually had 2 in the same day…and that was because I volunteered somewhere and dinner was provided. As a mom, I think you will understand: when the cupboards are getting bare, I cannot bear the thought of taking food from my children’s mouths. It is hard enough to make it stretch among hungry, growing boys…the times I do eat I feel like a child stealing cookies from her mom’s cookie jar. I have to remind myself that I am all they have, so I need to eat something once in a while…yet I still feel guilty.
What really hurts is the stereotypes. Yes, I am a single mom. Yes, I will soon be on welfare, but only temporarily, until I am given the ok from my doctor to start attending school again. I DO want the best for my children; I just may not have the same means as others to attain those dreams. I want to overcome my depression, and see myself succeed; knowing that my sons are watching…I want them to see that all things are possible with God…and no matter what cards they have been dealt, they too can have a future that is better than their past.