Saturday, August 23, 2014

What if...

The other day I was scrolling through my Face Book feed and I saw a meme of a woman holding a Gucci purse and an iPhone. In the picture, the woman was looking into her purse searching for something.   The caption read, "I just hate when I can't find my Food Stamps."  I read it, then kept scrolling through my feed without giving it a thought.  Then later, for some reason, it popped up in my head and I started thinking about it.  I understand what it is saying.  Sure, there are tons of people who abuse the system.  But then, there are the people who really need and rely on Food Stamps to feed their family.

I started thinking about who this woman was. I know she is fictional, but I just let my mind wander into different scenarios that could have taken place.

  What if she just signed a two year contract on her iPhone when her husband suddenly had a heart attack and wasn't able to go back to work.  She can't afford to keep it, but she can't afford the termination fee, either.

What if the woman in the meme was sexually abused and suddenly had a mental breakdown and now can't work, but still somehow has to feed her six kids.

What if the lady in the picture has had her Gucci purse for ten years in a closet and only brought it out because she wanted to feel special.

What if the Gucci purse isn't even real and she got from a guy on the street who sold it to her for $3.

What if the iPhone is a hand-me-down from Uncle Bob, and it's disconnected so she can only use it with Wifi.

What if her husband had suddenly passed away, leaving her with three kids and a dog, and a huge house note that suddenly seems impossible to pay, but no life insurance.  

What if her husband harmed himself serving our country overseas and the government refused to pay for his treatment. What if she works full time, but because he is disabled and can't work, now they can't even pay their house note and their electric bill on one income.

What if she and her husband both work full time, but still can't afford rent anywhere in the city in which they life.  They have two kids who they hardly see because they are working so much, but they still are just scraping by.

What if she had seven kids at home and her hard working husband suddenly lost his job because of layoffs. He has been searching for jobs for months, but can't find anything.

What if no matter how hard she tries, she just can't find a job.

What if she is a married student and her life was perfect, but then her husband left her for what seems like no reason.  She is so devastated that she fails her classes and can barely get out of bed, much less get a job.

What if she was too proud to go apply for help, and held onto the hope that her husband would be able to go back to work for too long and finally after seeing her kids go hungry, humbled herself and filled out the application, even though she used to be the kind of person to make fun of people who used food stamps.

What if she stays up all night crying because of her situation.

What if that woman is you? What if your perfect life suddenly fell apart and you only had $30 a week after rent and bills on which you had to feed your 2. 5 kids, your husband, and yourself, and somehow put gas in the tank so you and your husband can make it to work.

Things happen in life that we can't control.  Not everyone who uses Food Stamps abuses the system.    Sometimes they actually need them.  I know, I am one of them.  Some of these scenarios I have been through, some of them are variations of situations that I have seen people close to me go through.  I thought I was immune to hard times, until I went through them.  I never thought I would be someone who uses Food Stamps, I thought I was above it.  I thought I could work hard and life would always be good... until it wasn't and it was spinning out of control.  My life has been hard, and it still is,  but I am glad I have gone through what I have because it has made me a stronger person.  It has brought me closer to God, and that is something I wouldn't trade for any amount of money in the world.

Praise God for every blessing in your life.  Pray for the woman ahead of you in line at the grocery store who has a Food Stamp card. Smile at her instead of getting impatient and stamping your foot. Your prayers and your sweet smile could make a difference in her stressful day.