Me, Mine, Ours

Did you hear a giant whoosh yesterday? That was the sound of my family being jettisoned from 14+ years of employer-provided health insurance.

I’m digging deep, trying to channel my inner Morgan Spurlock – you know, the fella who made a television show, mini-documentaries and at least one full-length film of himself experiencing something extreme for 30 days – 30 days in prison, 30 days eating nothing but McDonald’s food, 30 days working in a coal mine – all so the rest of us can sit on our couches and learn how hard some people really have it (without ever having to leave our couches).

Millions of Americans live without health insurance. Until now they’ve just been a statistic or headline that occasionally caught my eye, or fodder for some running gag on the Daily Show, as Jon Stewart pointed out how crappy our healthcare system is when compared with other countries. Suddenly, I’m sitting up and listening, reading, Googling, because now the headlines are about my children. My health. Our risks. Our future. Makes it hard to expect much sympathy, when I didn’t worry about any of this until it directly affected me. Thus, my Morgan Spurlock mindset.

I saw this quote yesterday from evangelical Christian pastor Rick Warren: “God intentionally allows you to go through painful experiences to equip you for ministry to others.”

I’ll need an entirely separate blog post to express how I feel about the first three words of that statement, but I can get behind the idea that everything I’m experiencing can equip me for ministering to others. And if I can set aside the fear I feel when I think of how vulnerable my family is right now, this entire phase of my life could be viewed as a journeyman’s experience, preparing me for my next career. Maybe one day I can put my skills to work as an advocate of some kind – someone who can not only help others find the information they need, but coach them through the feelings of shame, loss of faith, and just plain awkwardness that so often accompany these kinds of life transitions.

Until then, the “others” I’m ministering to are mine. I’d like to think I always viewed others this way, but maybe Rick Warren is right and I needed a refresher course.


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