This is the version of the flu that is highly contagious, transmitted by both humans and wildlife (e.g. the bird flu), causes pandemics and can be lethal.
I have medical insurance. I visited a clinic, was examined by a doctor who administered the flu test, received a chest x-ray and ultimately was provided a prescription for Tamiflu which is intended to shorten the duration of the virus currently in me.
I have a degree of financial margin in my life. I decided to stay home this week to rest. I rescheduled my appointments and handled a few things over the phone. All my bills were paid. I have food in my fridge. I am in no jeopardy of losing anything but a few productive days of my life.
For too many, getting the flu or another illness is debilitating in many ways. I have a friend who is now back in a homeless shelter after maintaining permanent housing for over two years, due to a medical condition that required hospitalization. He lost his job, had no financial buffer to draw upon, no disability insurance, so he lost his place.
I’ve had friends staying in homeless shelters with a cold or the flu, and I’ve seen them sick week after week, maintaining a persistent cough that just won’t quit. I have purchased and provided cough medicine, Tylenol and other over the counter medications attempting to provide some short-term relief. Sharing a sleeping quarters with over 100 other men, transmitting the germs to one another, continuous coughing night after night, provides little quality sleep to an ailing person.
I am on the mend, as the saying goes. It’s been four days. By tomorrow, I’ll be mostly back to my normal schedule. You’ll hear no complaining from me. I’m mostly just grateful.
Our society values so many things greater than providing for those who struggle. I’m all in favor of accountability and not simply providing handouts. But how about a hand up? How do you expect my friend with the medical condition requiring hospitalization to “make it” on his own, if he can’t take time off from work for a needed surgery?
It used to be the church, Christian churches, provided the primary social safety net for those struggling. Depending on the survey, Christians give about 2 to 2.5% of their income to the church and other causes today. And churches, far too many, appear to have priorities other than serving the needs of our neighbors. So we now depend on the government to be the primary provider of our social safety net. WWJD?
What do I want? Why the rant?
I’d like to see a revival. I’d love to see a movement of people, here in the Twin Cities, that profess to follow Jesus to rise up, give of their time and finances sacrificially. For all of the time I see political bickering and positioning on Facebook, how about we take the time to drop our agendas and serve?
Call a homeless shelter. Ask how you might help. Serve a meal. Pack small necessity kits and keep in your vehicle to give out in your chance encounters with panhandlers. Pick a good organization, one you can get behind, and give them some money. Then ask them how you might serve.
It’s not much, you say.
So many great events and actions began with one or a few people. It’s simply not enough to be sad. It’s not enough to be angry or upset. Feelings matter but actions cement the impact.
So, what are you going to do?
And what you do, does matter.