Archive for the ‘Unemployment’ Category

“Tragedy often has a way of visiting those who can bear it least”

September 11, 2010

Rob and Rocky Rallying Help for Paralyzed


Reflection: “For it is in giving that we receive”…………..(Francis of Assisi)   

I recently picked up a nice brand spanking new book called: Time: Haiti-Tragedy and Hope (Time Inc 2010) The opening lines of the book jacket struck hard like a hammer to my head: Check out these words-that shake like an earthquake? “Tragedy often has a way of visiting those who can bear it least”….. ….”And on January 12, 2010, that is exactly what happened to Haiti, the poorest nation in the western hemisphere….. Immediately, the scale of the tragedy was apparent, a nation already so often on its knees had been knocked to the ground…….” Reflection: So often we hear the empty unreassuringly shallow words of well-meaning bystanders,–“God only gives a person as much suffering as he or she can bear”………….   

I have often heard a response by those who receive this advice shake their heads and wonder, “Can God really somehow help me sustain the strength I need to go on?” How can I go on? I really don’t know the way. So many ask,–“Can God give more than shares of tragedy to the weak”? Yes, I believe so, God gives Community, a spirit of solidarity with brothers and sisters. And more, God inspires some an ability for the embracing of misery with compassionate forbearance. The Holy Spirit is connected and reaches out in humble dignity from the despair to connect upwards with the wonderful and beautiful gift of hope upon hope. Beyond platitudes, beyond token gifts of a few dollars, solidarity of standing beside the struggling and suffering is the great gift that counsels more than words and gestures can offer. My lament in discovering the inner workings of tragedy of football catastrophic injury and paralysis is that–the deeper tragedy of the boys and families–who wallow in a position of poverty, disconnect from community…yes…..can bear it least…….is being alone!   

In fact for 11 years I have seen the tears, the struggle, of those who could bear it least, too often alone, distanced by safe- seeking others. We who take the time to witness the plight of the tragedy—deeply appreciate and admire how some mightily and quietly bear up…..(in their lives of quiet desperation) We notice the effects of refreshment like a drink of water for the thirsty living in the desert are boosted by small little rays of sunshine because a very few ones on occasion demonstrate some amount of care…..   

Who will rally from the comfort of apathy and complacency and cynicism and skepticism and hear the calling to move paralysis along? Who is not intimidated by overwhelming obstacles and sure and certain pathways of more despair without relief?   

“Tragedy often has a way of visiting those who can bear it least”……….   

Tragedy is being alone in the midst of a community.


Julie-Julia:Inspirational Message

August 27, 2009

Just returned from the fantastic film:  Julie and Julia”: A tale of two cooks‎ . What a wonderful boost to the heart, spirit, and soul.  I found it absolutely heartwarming. I love it!

Suffering and struggle take such a toll on our outlook in life. When the going gets tough, so often we want to hide, get down and depressed and wallow in the fact that the whole world seems against us.

The deeper message in this film is that everybody faces suffering. Everybody faces oppression, and the ‘system’ seems so big and powerful, and so darn good at beating us down.

Julia and Julie qualify as what I call, ” New Humpty Dumpty Souls”. The two personalities are so different, yet so alike in refusing to be beaten down. They each find a way to captivate the positive energy of friends and family to bounce back when the forces beat them into submission and despair.

They remind me of Damien the Leper priest of Molokai. The have fearless resilience to keep bouncing back against the wind.

My wife encouraged me to attend what from all appearances is billed as a “chick flick”. Wow, am I glad I went.

Each day I find myself fighting against the wind.

Right now, I am trying to form a new organization that reaches out to broken neck high school football players. It seems so futile, the subject is so depressing nobody wants to help me. (Poor me?)

Right now, I am trying to work on a documentary film that recruits young and old to get on the bandwagon to do volunteering as a means of helping others rise in the face of adversity (no helpers, no money-poor me?)

Right now, I am trying to boost the spirits of  those with cancer struggles. It is hard to keep praying for miracles. (Poor me)

Stop it. We each must find the depth of character to persevere-Like Julie and Julia.

I encourage everybody to enjoy the film, study it, learn what entrepenurial spirit is all about.

I pray that every person can be  a , “New Humpty Dumpty” person-refusing to give in, and always be open to reach out for loved ones and community to help raise you out of the quicksand of self pity.

Yes, friends, God works through people. Believe it.

Wishing you the blessings of cooking yourself a positive and optimistic attitude-no matter what!

Deacon Don

Unemployment and Suffering

January 25, 2009


This blog is contributed by Bill Smith, a great friend of Stauros.

Thank you Bill for offering hope for those suffering the heart rending challenges of unemplyment.

Deacon Don Executive Director Stauros USA

I wanted to write something about my experience being out of work.  The trials of unemployment and dodging collection calls, the fear of eviction and shame of not being able to meet one’s obligations or take care of one’s family.  It’s horrible.  I asked myself ‘How did I get here in such a horrific mess.’  The tears…fear…anxiety.  An almost hopeless sense of despair that seems to grip my every waking and even dreaming moments.  It hurts—I cry and pray.  And then an email alert popped up on my screen. 


A news article arrived telling me that in the two weeks of Israel’s operation in Gaza, 898 Palestinian people have been killed so far, and today, a Palestinian rocket hit an Israeli kindergarten filled with children and killing all.  I cannot imagine the incalculable loss and grief for those fathers, mothers, sisters and brothers families and friends and all those who lost someone.  It somehow makes my suffering quite a bit harder to feel…maybe I don’t have it so bad.


We’re taught to do unto others as we would have them do unto us.  Yet, I am here, bemoaning my lot in life and I haven’t done much to help relieve the pain of those so much more in need.  Not just those from the Palestine tragedy, but here, not a world away, but on my street, in my neighborhood, in my building.  There are those less fortunate who would gladly change places with me.  As I reflect on my sad jobless state, I do so from the warmth of a safety of a home overlooking the beautiful Chicago skyline and Lake Michigan.  How much would any of those touched by this latest military action give to change places?  What incredible gifts I have been given, and now, with some unexpected time off work, perhaps there is something I can do.


Maybe I can poke my head in a shelter tomorrow between interviews.  Can I help?  Perhaps there is something or someone tomorrow that can use my gifts outside of the job I am looking for.  Maybe God has a job for me in mind that I wasn’t expecting and might have otherwise missed.  And, I don’t want to disappoint that lead or disregard that recruiter.  Even if the pay isn’t really there, the benefits are infinite!  This job lead comes from the source of all knowing and all love. 


My mother passed away several years ago.  Several years before that, she sent a letter to me which somehow was lost unopened among my personal things.  Recently, during a move, I found the box with her unopened letter.  I recognized her handwriting and felt her warm attention on me as though she were standing next to me.  Inside was a brief note saying simply, ‘Billy, perhaps some day you will be able to use this.  Love, Mom.’  Enclosed was a prayer card with a picture of Christ on one side, and on the other was the Prayer of the Unemployed.  When my Mom sent the note, I was gainfully employed, owned a business and had several years salary in savings.  But today, with savings gone and no job prospect in sight, the prayer is relevant beyond what I ever could have thought.  I can picture my Mom’s knowing eyes affirming that all things come in His time as if she meant for me to get it now.   


So, from my Mother, and in His time, I’ll share the little prayer.  I hope it means as much to you as it does to me.


Dear Lord Jesus Christ,

You wanted all who are weary to come to You for support.  Lord, I am worn out by my inability to find wage-earning work.  With the changing job market, guide me in this pursuit to opportunities with a future so that there is not an immediate recurrence of this ordeal.  Day after day, my worry and fear grows as the rejections of my applications mount.  I am able and willing to work – but I cannot find a worthwhile job.  Please help me to obtain one soon.  Until I find employment, ease my worries regarding my financial situation and help me to take advantage of the time available to get closer to you.  Let me realize that there are other ways to bring about Your kingdom on earth besides salaried work.  Help me to make use of them for the time being so that I may continue to grow as a person for Your greater glory.  Amen.


So tomorrow I have a job.  I’ll visit those to whom I might be of some service.  I’ll keep my eyes, ears and heart open because I now believe being gainfully employed doesn’t always require having a job.  My prayers are with you always.  — Bill Smith