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Posts Tagged ‘health insurance’

The wound is the place where the Light enters you.
~Rumi

December Sunset

Life this year has been daunting and sometimes scary.  At times I have have lived in fear of reality.  How would I feed my family? What happens if any of us get sick? Will I become another homeless statistic?  What about my dogs? I rescued them from a possible death sentence – What if I had to put them down because I could not find a home for them?

Due to the loss of my income as a Jewish Education Director in the southwest, I became a statistic.  The congregation that moved me from the east coast to the southwest laid me off after only two years because they lost a large chunk of their membership unexpectedly.  With barely a moment to tread and reality what it was, I had to take my shattered being and find the sparks of light that have always surrounded me.  I really had no time to lick my wounds.  As in the forward to Amanda Palmer’s The Art of Asking, Brené Brown wrote, “I have learned that the best way to find light in the darkness is not by pushing people away but by falling straight into them.”

I fell and friends caught me.

Each and every time I did reach out, people held their hands wide open to receive me and ultimately offered help.  One distant friend offered to help me edit my resume since I was having a formatting issue.  Other friends told me of potential jobs or found me part time jobs so that I would be able to stay afloat.  Some friends reminded me that the guys and I could move in with them if we needed to.  In fact, I am now living in my friend’s vacation house.  And ultimately, I created a Go Fund Me account, http://www.gofundme.com/g8o220, I asked for help to move back east and sustain myself until I can land on my feet. And at every step of the way, my friends have be willing to listen to me as I navigated my various emotions.  I may still be struggling, but I am absolutely OK.

Each and every time, I started to fall, my friends never hesitated to catch me.

Through my misfortune, I was able find out what types of people were part of my life AND I am so grateful for what I found.  My situation forced me to open up and learn how to receive many gifts in whatever form they took.  Not only do I now realize how loved I am or maybe just cared for, I also have a greater understanding of what it means to trust.  Amanda Palmer said it beautifully when she said that, “Asking is an act of intimacy and trust.”  I used my blogging and Facebook to share my journey.  I was and continue to be transparent, but I chose to refrain from being openly dark about the institution that caused this situation.  I believe that I needed to honor the wisdom of Stephen Covey by ‘begin(ning) with the end in mind’ which is to say.  If I wanted to live in a place of light, I had to be that light.  And with all that, I have been touched by the tremendous results  from love, a touch, a meal, and even small and large monetary donations.  I now believe that with each gift, people have told me that they believe in me and that they see my struggle.  Everyone wants to see my family thrive.

One of life’s backdrops is that as a little girl, I often lived in fear of homelessness and violence.  There were few people that I trusted or should have trusted; there were some, but not a lot.  I sometimes wonder how I became the person I am.  Today, I can not imagine how my world could have been so broken, but it was.  And now look at the beauty that surrounds me even during the toughest of times.

Over the coming weeks, I want to take the light of this holiday season and grow it by sharing stories of how sparks of light can be found even the darkest holes.  If you’d like to be a guest blogger and to share a story on my blog or tell me a story that I can write, please let me know.

So, in the meantime, if you hear of a job that would allow me the opportunity to make a difference for good or a job that would simply pay my bills and give us health insurance, let me know.  And I will continue to do what I do. . .find and create light wherever I go.

Your light makes a difference.

With blessings, light, and love,
Chava

 

 

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Blogging is what I do.  I love writing and sharing my heart, my mind, and my soul.

Reflection Time Selfie

Reflection Time Selfie

If this is your first time reading this series of my blog, please take a moment and read the introduction Elul Journey: A New Year Is Emerging – 5775  http://t.co/Y6vmXdO6GJ

Today is 10 Elul or 20 days until 5775; it is a time to reflect and to choose ways in which I can best move towards the High Holy Days and the days that follow.  While it is not easy to navigate life’s journeys, I always get to decide how to approach my life.  In this moment, I am choosing to walk gently and embrace each step with openness.  As I say this, I also realize that this would be a good time for a reality check.

During each blog post of my Elul Journeys, I will share a poem, a saying, a teaching that has helped me navigate the world.  Let me know what you think!

~ ~ ~

“Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything – all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart…”
Steve Jobs 1955-2011

All of us will die; some of us will die before we hit old age and some of us will live into our senior years.  We don’t know when the end will come.

With that in mind, I am trying to live each and every day to my fullest.  I am actively trying to embrace a life that honors who I am and how I want to be.  Sometimes it feels like a struggle, but more and more I am becoming true to myself and helping my sons to do the same.

One challenge for me is that when I my job went to half-time and then nothing, I lost my health insurance.  For me that leaves a big gaping hole in my heart.  I fear what it means not to have a mammogram or not to be able to get something checked on my skin to make sure it is ok.   I try not to worry about my family, but I know only too well what can happen when your health falls apart.  My hope and my prayer is that all is ok with me and my family now and always.  And I am visualizing that we will have what we need in health insurance as soon as possible.

Life happens; death happens.

For now, it is my job to care for my family in the best ways I can.  That means nurturing my sons and caring for all of our bodies, minds, and souls.  And while I am at it, I will pray and visualize that we will all live a full and healthy life!

What do you need to do in order to best follow your heart?

With blessings & light,
Chava

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Living life actively is what I do, but at the same time I have always tended to play it safe within certain parameters.  At least I did until my job situation changed and I had no choice; I had to face my deepest fears.

Expose yourself to your deepest fear; after that fear has no power, and the fear of freedom shrinks and vanishes. You are free.  ~Jim Morrison

On December 16 of this past year, I was called into my executive director’s office at work.  My job had been cut to half-time. The congregation I was working with lost members and our school lost students.  Initially, I was stunned, never had I heard of a Jewish Educator going to half-time mid-year.

Instead of licking my wounds, I started really thinking about what I wanted with my life. Did I want to remain in Jewish Education? Did I want to stay in Tucson or move closer to the water? Could I find a way to focus on ways to grow while also sustaining myself financially.  There was and still is so much to consider.  The questions I was asking myself were endless.

What I had initially decided is that I wasn’t ready to push myself hard to find the ‘right’ position, I needed some time to breathe deeply and consider what I really wanted to do.  And the good news is that while I now had no health insurance, I did have a half-time salary.  Even with everything being strained financially, I was willing to take the time to seek the best working environment for me by deciding what I needed to best thrive in a new work environment.

As the days of my new work situation turned into weeks, and then months, I have been allowing myself the quiet time to figure out what would be next.  I interviewed for new positions and learned how to live with less; I grew angry for what I was enduring and I let the anger go.  I allowed myself to take this journey with few preconceived notions.  I wasn’t sure how I would emerge from where I was; I am still not sure how I will emerge, but I will.

There was and still is a thrill in learning how to live with less and accepting help.  From the beginning, I thought about my needs and wants, my space and how I craved simplicity.  And then my son Aryeh found a job and helped financially.  And then a friend gave me a job as a care-giver for the agency she worked; this allowed me to supplement my income.  When my car broke down, a friend lend me part of the money to fix it and when I was short the rent money one month, it showed up as a gift.  I am still reflecting and learning how to deal with where I am today.

Torrey Pines State Reserve Photo courtesy of David Davidson

Photo courtesy of David Davidson: Torrey Pines State Reserve

The Journey continues. . . .

And then in April or May I learned that the congregation that moved me from Washington, DC to Tucson two years ago could no longer afford me.  Effective June 1st, I was no longer employed as a Jewish Educator.  I had no guaranteed income and I had lost my community.

While I was aware that I could lose my position, I was also hopeful that I could continue working part time as the Youth Education Director.  Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case, the congregation said that they couldn’t afford my salary.  The new reality made it time to figure out the next chapter and quick (or maybe not so quick).

Moving forward is not optional.  Choosing to find light in the dark moments propels me to soar.  Allowing myself time to ask some important questions as I make this new reality work is scary, but feels wise too. With each day, I choose to celebrate the blessings that always surround me. My friends, far and near, have never wavered in their support; the desert mountains and the magnificent skies nurture my spirit even though I miss the ocean.

And in this moment, I am blessed to be working as a care-giver with some amazing people and earlier this week a friend gave me a short-term  freelance job within Jewish education. I seem to be staying afloat for the most part.

Reality 

From the moment I was given my walking papers from the temple, I was forced to look at my deepest fears directly.  As a result, I have always been terrified of not having the money I need to sustain my family with even their most basic needs.  Growing up without healthy food or the clothing appropriate for a girl in the suburbs was hard.   And for the first time in my adult life, I know that I there are times when I may not afford  rent, utilities, or basic necessities.  If something goes wrong, I will not have what I need to make things work.  And yet, I am blessed with friends and a belief that all will ultimately be good.

As a young teenager, my family  didn’t have enough food and the fear of foreclosure was constantly looming. Potential homelessness was a possibility then and now it is again.  And while it would be easier if I lived on the east coast because we do have friends there that would shelter us, my guess is that I have friends in Tucson too.  The beauty of where I am today is that I am beginning to heal from the experiences of my youth; I also realize that I have more tools now.  I understand what it means to thrift shop, borrow, and cook from scratch.  As a child, I really didn’t have the tools to help myself.  And today, I have something I never had before, I have friends and loved ones that are there for me and I am able to find the gifts within the challenges.

I am no stranger to financial struggles, as a Jewish professional (not clergy), I have always just made it financially. And when my children suffered health crises, we sometimes didn’t know how we would afford even their most basic needs. Yet, in the end, all of our needs and many of our wants have always been met often with the help of friends.  For me, darkness always turns into light.

What’s next?

I want to live consciously in all areas of my life.  Being authentic matters whether it is with people, my environment, or the larger world.  My words and my actions should support my beliefs and my spirit.

My foundation is what it is because of the role Judaism has had in my life.  The teachings have given me the wisdom to grow and the room to wrestle. Doors have opened to me because of my many interactions with the social actions of my previous communities.  When one door opens, I often find many other doors ajar.  Some I will go through; some I will not. I am who I am because I listened to the values of my faith and used it as a springboard to move me through life and learning from others.

So now, I have to figure out how to have a career that either nurtures who I am and/or allows me the time to make a positive impact within the world I live.  My hope is that I can do both. I love people and working with people; I also love the idea of working behind the scenes to get things done.  Even though, I have only really worked within the Jewish community, it doesn’t mean that I have to stay there. I have learned so many skills that can take me wherever I go.  I really am looking forward to the next chapter and hoping that it allows me the room to be creative either on or off the job.

My purchases should be mindful of the people and the physical planet I live; my interactions with family, friends, and others should always be sweet and caring.  Living in the world means I have a responsibility for walking gently and lovingly with each step and with each word.  Everything I do matters.

Today, I am considering ways to ignite my non-profit organization, find or create a meaningful work environment, taking time to write, and living into the answers of my many questions.  Today I am fully embracing life.

Each step in this 8 month journey has been scary. Yet it is also exciting to explore what is now meaningful to me and how I will afford my needs for now and into the future.  I don’t have all the answers, but I know that I am trusting the universe and doing what I need to do to move forward.

May today and every day lead us beyond our fears and towards freedom.

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Never in my wildest dreams did I expect that I would be staying awake all night so that I could care for someone other than family or friends.  Nor did I ever expect that I would lose half of my income and my health insurance for any reason at all.  I have always been blessed with fulfilling work that compensates me.   So it goes. . . .

Twists and turns can often accompany life’s journeys.

Today, I am working nearly full-time as a care-giver and another 20 hours a week as a Director of Education at a temple. I am doing what I need to do to care for my family.  And through it all, I love how I can touch someone’s life and make a difference for good.  All it take is just a gentle touch, a helpful hand, or a listening ear.  It really is that simple.

caregiving480-blogSpan
While I could choose to be resentful that I moved to Tucson for a position that now does not sustain my family, I am working on navigating away from that kind of energy; it doesn’t serve me well.  I have a soul to protect, two sons to support, and lots of holy work to do.  I am blessed even as I struggle.

A few years ago, I wrote a blog, Hineini – Here I Am,  http://wp.me/pthnB-2a.  Acknowledging that I am now here to serve others and to be more present in this world was important to me at the time.  Even now, I find myself excited that I am on this earth to make a difference for others either as a Jewish educator or a care-giver,  as a mother or a friend or as a human being.  Hineini.

None of this is simple, but I am figuring out how the next leg of my journey will look.  I now have a chance to reflect on what is important to me, what do I want to accomplish in the short and long run, and I get to assess how I feel at each step and then make decisions on how I will get where I want to go.

In the meantime, I am  care-giving in every way.  Senior citizens. Religious School community.  My family.  Life is the gift that keeps moving forward, so I will continue to do exactly I need to do.

Hanging on for  life’s roller coaster ride into the future. . . .wondering what the next twists and turns will bring my family.

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Life happens.

One day you are working and the next day you working half-time or sometimes not at all.  For those of us that live in financially challenging times, we might be blessed with what we need, but with no extra.  Some of us are blessed with financial cushions and some of us might be cushioned with a tight budget and  little or no savings.  These scenarios here are good ones; there are many others who really do not have what they need in life.

Melodramatic?  Nah. . . .

Today, I am facing a new reality.  Effective January 20th, I am working half-time and will therefore lose my family’s health insurance.  The good news is that I will have a half-time job; the bad news is that I will not have enough to support what I have previously considered to be essential.  Health insurance will become a luxury item.  Not even the Affordable Healthcare Act can help.  As long as I don’t have the money, I can’t afford the insurance.

photo (1)

The membership at my institution has declined and enrollment in my school has been affected accordingly.  With that in mind, my employer is making choices on how to manage their tightening budget.  Life happens.  So starting next month, my family will not have health insurance until I find a way to afford it.

This weekend, the reality of no health insurance slammed into me like a ton of bricks.  

  • Dovi  woke with viral conjunctivitis and ached all over.
  • Aryeh pulled out his back.

Fortunately, everyone will be fine, but what if Aryeh needed another brain surgery or Dovi became unable to walk again?  If those things happened, our family would become a statistic.  We would be one of “those people” that have caused the American people to cover our medical costs.  And my guess is that if the need arose, we wouldn’t be able to demand the care that ultimately saved Aryeh’s life.  No second opinions . . . no third opinions. . . . We would at the mercy of those that cared for the uninsured patient.

As someone who is still paying for some medical expenses that are a result of my older son’s health crisis, I am acutely aware of how quickly our health can be lost.  Sometimes we see sickness coming; sometimes we don’t.  The bottom-line is that few of us have the means to handle what our family was forced to handle when my son Aryeh needed two brain surgeries during his teenage years followed by countless days, months, and even years in bed.  The blessing is that our friends and community created a fund to help cover many of the costs that insurance did not.

So, as I sit here this morning feeling anxious about the impending lack of health insurance coverage over the coming weeks or months, I am also aware that if luck will have it, my family will find a way to manage with whatever happens.  Already, friends are trying to help me find a way to supplement and replace the the lost income – all ideas are welcome!

My hope and prayer is that all will ultimately be good for my family and that a day will come when health insurance isn’t a luxury for any human being.

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