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My family has been protected--by the hand of God alone, I think--from the current economic crisis. My husband has a good job, and mine has been solid so far as well. However, we live in an area of the country where things are about as bad as they can be for many people. Our county is one of the hardest hit in Southern California.

For almost a year now I've been trying to record one thing I'm thankful for each day. I'm a mom of two small children, and I write a blog called "Morning Thanks in Elmo's World." In November I contemplated a few of the questions above when one of my friends moved her family across the country to start over. I'm pasting the blog entry below.

Thank you for your time!

Sunday, November 16, 2008
Tomorrow morning my friend, her husband, and her children will board a plane and fly east. Over the course of the last couple weeks they have packed a moving truck, held a sale, and emptied their big, lovely home of just about everything. When I walked in on Saturday morning, the day of the sale, a lump rose in my throat. The hallway where my daughter had run circles with her daughters led to an empty living room. The play room where we'd sat and chatted while the kids played had no toys.

Now a full set of her bedroom furniture sits in my house, waiting to be assimilated into the guest room. We will go this week to pick up the rest--a leftover jug of dishwasher detergent, some of her pretty curtains, a set of pots and pans--all things she didn't sell, can't pack, and has to leave behind. I'm already preparing myself to go into that empty house and feel the space left by our missing friends.

The current financial crisis led them to make the move. My friend--God bless her--has a new job waiting for her on the East Coast. They'll make a new start. They're going to be okay.

We are watching an unprecedented number of people just up and disappear around us. Every day moving vans and trucks haul away lives and hopes, leaving behind hulking empty shells, houses where homes used to be.

A few days ago I was thinking about my 34th birthday. It'll be here on Wednesday. My grandpa on my dad's side, the grandpa I really never knew, was almost exactly the same age I am when he weathered the Great Depression. Born in 1898, Grandpa C. would have been somewhere around 31 on Black Tuesday. Three years later when he hit 34, the worst financial crisis in U.S. history would have been in full swing.

I've thought about him a lot this week, and Grandma C. too. I've always wished I had gotten a chance to know them, to really be able to see and remember their faces, but this week as my friend sold her belongings and prepared to walk away from her house, I wished I could sit down for coffee with Grandpa. I so want to hear what it was like the first time it happened. I want to know when he knew it really was that bad. I want to know what it was like to watch his friends walk away. I know he would have been able to tell me.

As strange as it seems, if this financial meltdown really is what none of us want to call it, then Grandpa and I share something I never had notion to imagine--this experience of watching the bottom fall out, of watching life shift and change in ways that are frightening. And sad.

Both my friend and her husband have told me that no matter what, they have always had enough. They both speak with an awed combination of wonder and faith when they see how God has provided for them even in the most difficult of circumstances. They have always had what they needed.

And that's the promise, I guess, and that's what I'm thankful for. Our God never pushes us beyond what we can handle. And there's always enough. God bless our friends. God bless my Grandpa and his friends all those years ago. God bless us all.