Monday, October 20, 2008

Welcome to my world....such as it is.

My mother, rest her soul, used to comment, "just when I thought things couldn't get worse, by God they DID!! Her life, though lived simply in a small town near Milwaukee, Wi. , was fairly complicated. Some of the complications clouding her life were: living in close to her in-laws - within four doors of half of my father's family, being married to a man who was seasonally out of work and spent his days "networking" at the local tavern, having to care for her mother who was suffering from Alzheimer's disease (though in those days it was more likely called, "hardening of the arteries"), and having to work full-time to support the family.

The family, thanks be to God, was small. My father and I were dependent upon her earnings often in our life. When dad was working, things were good -- but the dreaded winter would arrive and home construction would come to a standstill for several months, sometime 1/2 a year. When the layoff inevitably came, the tension in our household became palpable.

When the stress of life became too much for her she would "take to her bed". Phantom illness sometimes lasting weeks or months would descend upon her and she would become unavailable to us emotionally, if not physically.

My memories of such times are more viscerally felt now as I reflect on them. I am reflecting on them these days quite often as the nation's economy is in the toilet, many folks I know are out of work (I among them), and it seems like everyone is anxious facing an uncertain future.

The ancient mathematician Archimedes once said, "give me one firm place to stand and I can move the world". He was referring, of course, to the power of the lever, from which we get the word, "leverage". It seems as if, for many people, there is no leverage available for them when facing the burdens they need to lift. It is a scary time in America and the world.

It is tempting to "take to our beds" and await the shadows passing.