Slice of Life Challenge day 23 #sol17

I’m just not sure I can muster this kind of faith…

TItle: “Faith”

I placed the loaf of sourdough down on the belt, right next to the pound of grass-fed ground beef, and began to fish in my pocket for my wallet.  The woman scanning the groceries, who I will call Patty, clutched the loaf and pulled it over the bar code scanner.  We both gazed longingly at the overpriced bread. And for a brief moment I felt so fortunate to be able to afford the luxury of buying such a beautiful item as this.  My daughters will be so happy, I thought to myself (they love sourdough).

Patty scanned the rest of my groceries and recited my total aloud. “Sixteen-oh-four, please,” she stated mildly.  With my credit card poised between my finger and thumb, I stood just about to pull it through the magnetic card reader. Suddenly the question came: “Would you like to donate one dollar to ‘Meals on Wheels’ today?” asked Patty, holding her finger over a button on the register.  With her other hand, she pointed to a small sign taped to the back of her register.  It looked something like this:

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“Um, yes,” I responded. “I would like to donate.  I guess we’d all better donate before it gets cut from the budget.”

You see, my grandmother is a current recipient of the federal anti-poverty program for seniors known as “Meals on Wheels.”  She spent her life raising three daughters (my mom is the eldest), owning her own business (a beauty salon), and being a generally productive citizen.  She and my grandfather, who worked various agricultural jobs, were not monetarily rich.  But they were both hard-working, honest folks. They attended church on Sunday, and my grandfather sold Christmas trees in the winter. When my grandfather died in 1982, he left my grandmother a modest pension. At age 96, she is mostly able to make ends meet on her own.  Mostly.  But ‘Meals on Wheels’ helps, just that little bit.

So when I heard this program is slated to be part of a series of budget cuts by the new federal government, naturally I was angered. Angered and worried.

“Oh, I don’t think ‘Meals on Wheels’ will be cut,” offered Patty. And she was serious.

“You don’t?” I asked, incredulous. How can she say that?

“Oh no, I really don’t,” she calmly replied.  “And if it is, the states will step up and find a way to fund it.  And if the states don’t step up, then people will band together and make sure it doesn’t go away.”  And then it came: “You just have to have faith.”

Faith?

I left the store that day wondering three things:  First, with all I’ve seen in our body politic lately, I’m not sure I do have faith. Not like that. Secondly, I’m not sure I should have faith…should I?  Will state governments find a way to help seniors like my grandmother if the federal government slashes all the programs designed to help poor people, like they’re currently planning to do?  Would regular folks really organize to prevent these programs from falling by the wayside?  Should I have that kind of faith?  Really?

But Patty did.  She really did.  So the third thing I wondered was…how can she have that kind of faith?

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Author: Lanny Ball

For more than 23 years, Lanny has taught, coached, presented, staff developed, and consulted within the exciting and enigmatic world of literacy. With unyielding passion and belief in the possibility of workshop teaching, Lanny has worked to support students, teachers, and school administrators around the country in outgrowing themselves as both writers and readers. Working first as a classroom teacher, then as a coach and TCRWP Staff Developer, Lanny is now a literacy and reading consultant in Northwestern Connecticut. Outside of literacy, he enjoys raising his three ambitious young daughters with his wife, and playing the piano. Find him on Twitter @LannyBall, as well as his literacy blog: lannyball.com or lannyball.blog.

7 thoughts on “Slice of Life Challenge day 23 #sol17”

  1. I suppose if we can’t have faith in the government, we could have faith in people like Patty. I’m always shocked how the people with the least resources are most willing to share. Somehow the wealthier seem to operate as utilitarians while the those with little are Kantians.

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  2. I’m with you on this. Faith should not need to be required given the level of taxes we all pay and the ridiculous and cruel ‘budget blueprint’ Trump and his mongers produced and foisted on the public and Congress. Truly, they should be ashamed and Patty, well intending, should clue in better. I’m not against the public helping to support programs like Meals on Wheels–my dad when he retired delivered meals for several years and I chip in beyond my taxes which are sky high. However, the small amount of money (given the overall budget) that this program and others that feed the poor, especially children, should never be cut. We do not need increases in military spending. This is a lead up to fascism and a fascist state.

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    1. Agreed. Thanks for all your thoughtful writing here, albeit the depressing content. I’m hoping people can continue to believe in what might be possible, as without that, we are really sunk.

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  3. I’m all for faith, but I don’t think our most vulnerable citizens (human beings) should have to rely on it. People had faith that 45 would change once in office and ‘pivot’ to be more presidential. People have faith that if they are sick there will be a system to take care of them. People have faith that no one will go hungry. And sadly these things aren’t happening for so many. I hope Patty is right, but I don’t want to rely on faith, I want to rely on my own actions to do what is right. Thanks for this thoughtful post.

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  4. It isn’t reasonable to just rely on faith something will happen that will benefit any group. I tirelessly send contributions to groups I think can make a difference wondering, yet knowing these “drop in the bucket” amounts won’t change the trajectory of what is happening in our current out of control political situation. I guess my faith is that common sense emerges in leaders with authority and this administration implodes.

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    1. Yes, I hear what you’re saying. That’s kind of why I felt so conflicted leaving the store- there don’t seem to be any signs that faith will materially matter. Thank you for your thoughts.

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  5. We need to put our faith into action. If we only talk about how terrible it is, but never do anything to make a difference, our faith is in vain. We need to be vocal and let our congressmen and women know that it is totally unacceptable to We, The People. Yes, I believe like Patty that the rest of us regardless of whether we pay taxes to fund these programs or not, we will not let our elderly, poor and children suffer because of what our government does or doesn’t do.

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