The Darn Economy

Every time I turn on the news I hear more bad news about the economy.  And it’s been hard to see my family and friends suffer from it. Its hard to see the appeals for much needed donations to my favorite non profit groups come rolling in so often. Times are tough for so many people. Luckily I am a chaplain at a Catholic hospital so my job seemed pretty secure.

But little did I know that I was going to be one of the latest statistics in the current recession.  A few weeks ago I found out my hours were being cut in half and I no longer had a full time job.  I was sad and worried at first, then became angry, then motivated to find a new job.  Even though I saw very few job positions advertised in my field, I knew something would surface.  And I was reminded again that I am very lucky to have safety nets in my life, people who, if the bottom fell out tomorrow, could loan me a couch to stay on or a few bucks to get by. I realize that not everyone’s safety nets can do that. 

Just last week I was offered a 30 hour a week position at a nursing home.  I have never wanted to be in the nursing home setting, but I figured I better take it, and fast.  Most people have been telling me how I should feel fortunate that I have at least that.  And I do feel fortunate, but at the same time, I’m very sad and a bit pissed about the whole situation. I didn’t anticipate feeling so sad about leaving, feeling forced into a corner, and so negative about the possibility that I might actually like working in a nursing home.   

Not meaning to be self centered, subconsciously we are highly motivated  to avoid negative feelings.  We want to say something helpful to the other person because we truly do want to help but we also don’t want to feel the anxiety/sadness/etc.  it brings up in us.  So we get frustrated when they don’t take any of our helpful tips or positive platitudes.  Well, I’m sorry.  I just don’t feel like looking on the bright side right now. 

Some may think that’s very negative of me, and is not going to get me anywhere good.  Some may be angry that I’m not letting them feel better by just submitting and saying,  ‘yes, I’m happy to know that I’ll be able to bring a lot of good to their situation’. But I don’t feel like thinking about other people right now.  I’m on me at the moment, and that is just fine. 

Its great actually.  I’m not one to be open to feeling negative feelings like sadness and anger.  I’m also very bad at considering what I want and need first. And I’m doing both right now!  So while other people might find my current bad attitude detrimental to me ‘keeping my chin up’, I see great progress.  I’m excited to know I can get to this place where I can be angry, where I don’t pretend to feel better just so someone else can feel better about my mood. 

I wonder what other people are experiencing as they listen to or become a victim of the recession problems.

Lauren Ivory earned a Master of Divinity degree from Aquinas Institute of Theology in St. Louis and completed her chaplain residency at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio. Originally from Northern Michigan, Lauren is now enjoying her new city of Chicago and working on the north side as a hospital chaplain/’storylistener’. When she isn’t working she can be found spending time with friends, reading, exploring unique things about Chicago, traveling to see family and friends, listening to music, and dancing.

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About Lauren Ivory

Lauren Ivory is a hospital chaplain working on Chicago's diverse north side. After receiving her Master of Divinity degree at Aquinas Institute of Theology in St. Louis, MO she went on for further hospital ministry training at the Cleveland Clinic of Ohio. On the side, she enjoys helping couples plan wedding/commitment ceremonies and works with couples as a certified premarital guidance counselor.

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