This is a passage from 1 Thessalonians I’ve always liked. (NSRV). I’ve tweaked it a little to reflect our current circumstances.
Rejoice always, 17 pray work without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 19 Do not quench the Spirit.
I looked over my calendar before work this morning and before Geoff and I discovered that we were not, in fact, Powerball winners. I have worked every day, including today, since April 30th. In that time I’ve had one day off and that day was entirely dedicated to preparing for the art shows I had the next two days. Yes, those are work too.
I am working tomorrow and possibly Tuesday and Wednesday as well. I’m also working Thursday.
This is the new reality for many Americans. This is reality for me and Geoff. There is no vacation time. There are no sick days. Sick days and vacation time are luxuries reserved for the rich. We are wage slaves.
For all of this work, Geoff and I are 2 months behind on our rent. We’re selling what possessions we can, but there just isn’t enough. We have an understanding landlord, but only to a point. We’re now officially on the brink of losing our home. We will have nowhere to go.
I find it hard to rejoice. I find it hard to give thanks. I see endless days stretching into endless weeks of low wage, toxic, or simply boring jobs with no hope of being able to pay all the bills, let alone ever being able to own a home or retire.
We will work until we die, both of us. Every single day.
Some will say I am being overly dramatic. Some will say this is histrionics. Say what you will, it is what it is: terrifying. This is not the American Dream, the American Dream is dead. This is reality in a post-Bush America. This is reality in a global economy where there is more concern for corporate welfare and “job creators” than there is for people like me and Geoff who work 9, yes nine, jobs between the two of us, not including his work as a volunteer police officer.
All I am asking for is all I’ve asked for since I graduated from college, a job with a living wage, and coworkers and supervisors who aren’t horrible, abusive, and terrible to work with. This is and always has been, apparently, too much to ask.
And so we continue to struggle and work and fight. We wait to lose our home and our possessions, and we wonder where we’ll end up when our apartment is gone. And we pray. We pray ceaselessly for the miracle that will not come.
But we do not rejoice. Not yet. Maybe not ever.