Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Five years ago on June 15th I moved into a place of my own after living nine months in a homeless shelter. Six days later I got sick and I've been sick ever since. Facing loss of job and possible homelessness again I did not go to the doctor like I should have. I had no insurance. My job was as a temp employee with no benefits and no guarantees it would last, although all told I was there full time for fifteen months. I ended up nearly losing my home again because ultimately I got too sick to continue working and was wrongly terminated from my job. I was awarded unemployment benefits but could not collect because I was too sick to work. Thankfully, even though I went through a lot of fear and stress, which was counterproductive to my illness, I was awarded Social Security Disability and also found a great part time job working from home which helped keep me going and independent. But I was really sick.

I am having trouble writing this but I have to get it out because it is choking me right now. All my life I've had to be the strong one. My mom used to say it was a good thing she and I had broad shoulders because we were always seemingly carrying the weight of the world on our shoulders. I was still young then. I got married, had kids, stayed married and stayed as strong as I could possibly be and ended up divorced 21 years later. I believed, and still believe in the traditional roles of a wife staying home taking care of her husband, home, and children. I believe that in this society where everyone seems to promote the right to choose, that women who believe in these values be allowed to choose to live that way if it is financially available to them. It was for me most of the time I was married. However, even though I had a lot of college in my background including an Associate Degree in Social Work, I was never prepared for the working world outside of home and family.

When I moved out of that homeless shelter on June 15, 2006, it was my second time dealing with homelessness after my divorce. When I got sick June 21, 2006, I was very active in my church and with my friends at church. As I got sicker and sicker but still needed to keep as much energy as I could to hold my job I gradually cut back on all church activities and time spent with my friends. Only one of my friends from church stuck by me all these years. I also made a good friend while I was in the shelter and she has also stuck by me and I by her. Whatever my church friends thought, I don't know. All I know is that these broad shoulders are very tired.

Tonight I have talked to my one church friend about the situation as I have been trying to get back to church for a couple months now. I want to start slowly, not even sure I can do a full morning of Sunday School and Worship, but I want to try. But for some reason, unknown to me, getting a ride to and from church has been difficult to arrange. I've had offers to go to other churches. But it feels so much like my home church does not want me anymore.

Tonight as I talked to my friend and we got caught up on each other's lives as friends do, I thought back over the last 5 years and how I've had to go through everything I have been through without church support because they were not there for me. My family was there for me and my two wonderful friends were there for me. I have a couple other wonderful friends who have since been there for me in the past three years.

Nine months ago on September 15, 2010, something happened that I do not wish to go into detail about at this time, but it changed my life yet again. As a result of this event that was painful for me, I met some of the most wonderful people I've ever known. These friends have stood by me through everything in my life since that time much more than my church ever did in all the past five years. Yet I have only met one of them in person so far. They were there to talk to me, listen to me, help me laugh, let me cry and let me try to give back to them the same friendship.

In all of this, in all of my life, one Friend has always been there for me and without Him I never would have made it this far in life. There is a song I want to share with everyone tonight and I also ask that anyone who reads this who prays, pray for me. Because as strong as I may appear on the outside, the broad shoulders my mom spoke of back when I was still in my youth are wearing down.

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