I woke up this morning in my warm, heated house. The first thing I did was turn over and look at my iPhone, which told me the temperature was -7 degrees with a wind chill of around -20. I took a hot shower, picked from an abundance of clothes in order to get dressed, and went downstairs to make coffee. As it became time to head out of for the day, I went to the garage to get in my car. I drove in my heated car to the bank and then to the office. I got out of my car, spending two minutes outside (wearing my coat, sweater, gloves, scarf, and hat) going from the car to the building. I proceeded to spend the next hour complaining about how cold it was outside.
For far too many, the narrative today is different. I am afforded the privilege of merely being cold. It made for an inconvenience, some very temporary misery, and a good conversation starter. For many, today’s cold is a life or death situation. The person living on the street. The single parent who wasn’t able to pay last month’s heat bill. The government worker who wasn’t paid because of the government shutdown. Someone with unrealiable transportation whose heater doesn’t work going to a job where they are grossly underpaid. The elderly person who has long been forgotten and is living in isolation on a small fixed income. I’m sure you can come up a multitude of life situations.
More are living on the margins. The gap between those on the margins and those not is growing. At the same time, more are in life situations that place them precariously close to the margins. I read the other day that 40% of Americans can’t afford to even miss one paycheck In a resource rich nation, this points to just how those resources are largely spread among the few.
I’ve been thinking today about what we need to do about it. Thinking about what I can do. Thinking about where one might find Jesus on a day like today. Of course, that is a luxury not afforded many on this day
They are thinking about survival. I have the privilege of merely being cold.