Today many of us are looking at the consequences of the current sequestration. I’ve come across a few that do not believe it really affects them. I think we have to look beyond the surface to see how this affects everyone, especially those who live in military communities. Even if you don’t work for the government, I believe you will feel the effects of the sequestration and additional financial strains it places on already lower paid individuals.
The first group that comes to my mind is the men and women of our military forces. Oddly, I’ve come across a lot of people who feel those in the military have it made. They believe we receive many free benefits. Our benefits may appear free but believe me, they are not. The men and women of our military and their families make many sacrifices in order to receive the benefits they do. Military men and women and their families receive lower pay than they would compared to someone doing the same job in the civilian world. They are on call to work 24/7 with no overtime. They deploy, leaving behind their families to manage things independently, most fairly far away from family and friends. Losing some of their benefits will affect these families who are already making less than their civilian counterparts. Government civilian employees will take a significant loss of pay with the sequestration as well.
Looking in to the future, we might ask: how can we help one another make it through these difficult times? Our chapel is looking at making a Food Pantry to help those out as they adjust to the changes. Although I am saddened by the difficulties ahead and that it’s affecting so many people (even students getting student loans will see increases on fees and military members will no longer receive tuition assistance) Lent seems to be an appropriate time for us to look at how we can ease the burdens of those affected by this.
I like the idea of our Food Pantry. It gives everyone in the military community an opportunity to look beyond concern for oneself to realize this is affecting everyone. If we join together for a common cause, like the Food Pantry, we can help ease the burden, even if just a little. It’s also important for us to realize that the civilian community we shop, go out to eat in and support will also be affected by our inability to spend as much as we used to. I think it would be great if as a community we could unit and face these times of difficulty through prayer, service to one another and love. For me, that begins with prayer and continuing to be an advocate for the Food Pantry.
Many of us may not be able to give as freely and may wonder what can we do to help others in need. I am a big advocate for prayer and sharing in what we do have. Inviting a family over for dinner or joining in praying the Rosary at Church or creating a group that unites and looks for ways to help others in the community are great starts to help each of us through the difficult times ahead of us.
Copyright 2013 Lorrie Lane Dyer
About the Author
Lorrie Lane Dyer is a facilitator for the Virtual Learning Community for Faith Formation with the University of Dayton as well as religious education and parish coordinator. She is working on her Masters of Leadership Development, with a focus in Military Chapel programs at St. Mary of the Woods College. Her faith provides her with inspiration for many of her poetry collections, columns and short stories.