Many have had difficulties the last few years. People have lost their homes, jobs. Families are going or have gone without food, shelter. So much insecurity and worry in recent times. My family and I were greatly affected by the recession. We lost our business, almost lost our home, we almost lost us! Pressure and stress is a terrible thing. I was in a playgroup with a woman who’s husband worked on an army base. She told me, knowing how my life was being affected, that she loved the recession. She loved all the “deals” that she was getting, I’m guessing she meant from retail stores. She felt that because her husband had a military job, he was safe. I heard recently that his job was in jeopardy. Something about benefits and his pay being cut, I hope they’re okay. I guess no one is safe. As for my family, we are slowly recovering from our financial losses. I know that not everyone is as lucky as we are. I was thinking about this the other afternoon as I was sitting in an unfamiliar group with some women. I wasn’t a part of the conversation, but I was listening. They were describing their homes to one another. Who has granite, marble floors, jacuzzi tubs. What kind of car they drive, their spouse drives. Where they live, in what township. The square footage of their homes. On and on and on. I began wondering why was all of this important to them. Was it even all true? and if so, who cares! Were they really impressing one another with their material things? How about what really matters? Were they good people? Were they the type that would drop some change into the cup of a person in need, or walk by in designer shoes mumbling that they should “get a job” and stop “abusing the system”. Don’t get me wrong, I believe that everyone should stand on their own two feet and make their own way in life, but sometimes people need a helping hand. They say that everyone is fighting some sort of battle. It’s just not always obvious what that battle is. I remember a bill collector that called once demanding payment, when I explained why I couldn’t give him the amount that he was asking for, that I could give him less because I had to buy food for my children, he called me a loser..Really? Wondering what his battle was. Going through all of that has changed me. It’s made me want to be able to help anyone who needs it, not catch up on lavish home improvements. My husband has recently helped out at the food pantry’s distribution center, I’ve counseled many on how to go about getting a loan modification from your mortgage company, what services to utilize if you find yourself down and out temporarily. I’ve even driven people to the county services office because they were to embarrassed to go on their own. We need to stop trying to “keep up with the Jones’” The Jones’ are bankrupt and have been foreclosed on!