Day 245 - Transience
I’ve already written about being numb, and today was one of those days.
I am grateful today that these feelings of despair are transient in nature, and at least I can graduate to numbness.
People talk about the long term unemployed “giving up” looking for work. Those who describe it thus have no idea what they are talking about.
It isn’t a matter of “giving up” as much as losing hope. When there is no hope of being hired for anything - even at a grocery store - there is little one can do to change it. Sure, you can talk a good story about “allowing” good things into your life (which I continually try to do) and to redirect your thoughts to things more positive. "It's all about attitude!"
It is rather like working out: I may have developed my musculature as far as my genetics will allow, and to continue working out is simply a habit; it does not get me any closer to my goal because there are forces outside my control that make my goal unrealistic. The difference, though, is that you don't necessarily judge me poorly because I don't bulk up. My appearance at the gym allows you the comfort of giving me the benefit of the doubt.
This blog entry is not about those who face adversity with a new idea. Thank heavens for people who can do that. I’m not talking about the dreamers who, in spite of their hardships, can continue to dream. I’m talking about the dreamers, the visionaries, and the regular guys, who continue to try and eventually, through years of effort and toil, reach a point where their dreams die a natural death but do not take their host with them.
When someone who has actively pursued employment every day for multiple years “gives up,” it is less likely because he is lazy or lacks initiative, or is supporting an addiction. He is not “wallowing in self pity,” as some will accuse. It is more likely that he has no place in our society. American men, in particular, feel this most acutely. The disillusionment that comes from finding out after the fact that your skills and abilities are no longer valued by society at large brings with it a feeling of defeat so overwhelming it is impossible to verbalize. Unless you've been there, you don't know what it is like.
When you see the filthy old man on the street corner or at the end of the freeway exit with his cardboard sign and sad face, please consider giving to him; suspend your many judgments about how he might spend your dollar. Why would you care how he spends it, except that perhaps he might someday feel better about himself, his life, his world. Why should you care at all, when you have so many other dollars in your purse or bank account? Is his smile not enough for you to give to him? For once, give because he is human. Show a little mercy.
After all, it might be me.