Safety Net by Lois Hewitt

The last couple of weeks have been truly eye opening for me. Before I start I want to reiterate that my blessings overflow. From where I came from, the bad decisions I made now to know I know I am blessed. My eyes have seen life without a safety net. It has been concerning.

I have been ill for a few weeks now. Doing much better though. But I put off a trip to Urgent Care because the car payment was due. I tried over the counter things but to no avail. I ended up getting checked out but should have done it sooner.

Not having health insurance for the last eight years or so weighs heavy on every decision that comes to health. Asking around I found that this situation is much more prevalent then I knew. Going to the doctor with a prescription or two can cost a couple of hundred dollars.

How many people have an emergency fund for such things and how many people are one car breakdown or appliance failure away from disaster? My savings has a long time balance of $5.00. I want and plan to save more but find it much more difficult than I imagined.

Please know I am not complaining. Having lost everything a few years ago has made me appreciate all that I have. But the reality is a truth. Many of us live without any sort of safety net. Being sick facilitated a few extra bills and a loss of a weeks paycheck…which can be recovered from. What if I had to go to the hospital. What if I had missed weeks from work. What then.

Now I absolutely do not expect the government or employer to take this to task. No handouts wanted. Most of the people I know in a similar position agree. The reality is harsh at best. I tend to think about all the possibilities when things are going smoothly. I have been around long enough to know those times don’t last.

You may think this is absolutely insane but I do think this way. If I had said safety net…how would I act differently? I would then rely on myself and my resources to take care of my needs. I may even take the simple things for granted because I have it covered.

With no safety net, I generally take nothing for granted. I’m thankful every week that I can buy healthy food. I’m thankful for my very small but efficient wardrobe. I’m thankful for a roof over my head and heat in the winter and comfy blankets and warm socks and hot cocoa (you can tell it’s winter) and all the things I have. I thank God every day for providing these things. He also gives me a place to put my fear and anxiety.

I would be lying if in the dark of night I didn’t pray for a little lottery winning or some sort of windfall. Those are few and far between. I do then pray for those of our society who struggle more than me. I am one of the lucky ones. Then I pray that I can get by. I have learned to not need much or even want much.

The hidden blessing for me is my gratitude levels have skyrocketed. I’m grateful for every paycheck. I’m grateful that there is a place that I can go when I’m sick and they care for me. I’m thankful for my landlords who care for me too. The list could go on for days.

I went from having a house and stuff and never being satisfied to losing said house and stuff and starting over from scratch in my 50s and being totally grateful. I say this only for myself, happy without is so much better than unhappy with.

I’m still going to try to save a little bit more but for now I’m doing my best. I can’t do more than that. Be grateful today…it changes your perspective. I pray for all of us living on the edge without a safety net. My you all have comfort today.

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