Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The cost of living

My husband and I work for the same church, and both get paid twice a month.  Since our income comes in on the 1st and 15th, I have our bills organized to pay twice monthly also.

While we don't make lots of money by some people's standards, we are very comfortable.  We are getting close to being debt free (other than our mortgage and paying for our son's college education), and we enjoy our life.  We are able to take vacations, go out for dinner sometimes, and purchase "things" that we want and/or need.  It's a really good life!

I like paying our bills.  I like seeing where our money goes.  I like being able to make a nice contribution to our church every month.  I like being able to support organization that I believe are working for the good of our community and our world.

But I've been bothered lately by my lack of engagement with some of the large issues that face our world.  Gun violence is at the top of my list.  I don't understand how we, how I, let this horrible tragedy happen without doing anything to lessen the possibility of it happening again.

I'm frightened by the environmental issues that we are not addressing, that we are putting off for our own comfort.  And I'm disgusted that I sit and don't take more action on these issues that speak to me.

I've decided that not only is there a cost for groceries, and gas, and housing expenses, and medical bills, and wifi, and tithing...  There is also a cost for being a member of the human race.  I've decided that I'm adding that "cost" to my twice monthly bill paying routine.

I've collected the mailing addresses of my state and federal legislators, my Governor, and the President.  I'm going to make myself more aware of the issues that call to me.  And each month as I write out my bills, I'm also going to write letters to my elected officials.  I'm going to share my concerns with them and ask for them to take action.  I'm going to keep at it, month in and month out.

I believe that this practice will do a number of things.  First, it will set an example for my daughter that we can act on our convictions.  Second, it will help to make me more aware of the issues that I care about.  I'll need to keep informed so that my letters reference current findings and current events.  Third, hand written letters matter to elected officials.  Fourth, I believe that persistence triumphs.

I cry every time I read about teachers who tried so desperately to protect their young students from gunfire at Sandy Hook.  Starting today, I'm not just going to cry.  I'm going to write that letter.  

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