Thursday, November 6, 2014

Flashback: Reflection on Social Stratus

It's indeed "stratus," not "status." Level based on financial assets, not esteem based on political success in the realm of public personality. This was a text:

I recall a classmate back in high school once described his family as "middle class," because they only owned one yacht and had a 5-bathroom house on waterfront property. That was my first recollectable introduction to the idea that there are big differences between tiers in the middle class. 

I'd have to honestly say that I'm middle class (one-family home, college educated, never missed payments on utilities growing up, one car per person [now!]), but definitely LOWER middle class (no cell phone until age of 19; no cable tv; no disposable income; underemployed; highly infrequent rate of 'going out' to movies, let alone restaurants anymore, etc; 8 new major articles of clothing in the last 3 years; drained or insufficient safety net/rainy day fund; no savings worthy of the name; no bi-monthly dinner parties like our neighbors; no dental visit in 1.5 years; etc)

Also, no second homes, second cars, RVs, ATVs, boats, etc. 1 or 2 acre property. No owned stocks or other investments. 

We have enough to not feel impoverished, but we don't have enough to have a sense of optimism with respect to finances. My parents have no retirement outlook apart from the sale of the house at some future date. I have enough money saved to pay for TWO college courses, or car insurance and food to keep me alive for c. 1 year, if I lose everything else. We have just enough to feel the pressure from what we lack.

And from a standpoint of pride and grace, I appreciate the place I've grown up in so much; there's neither a strong impulse of bitterness nor arrogance. I have things, which let me be grateful for the gift of possessing them, to God; and I lack a great many things as well, which give me a mindset of dependence on God and an appreciation of whatever I get in the future, that it's a blessing and privilege and not a sign of my own greatness or monument to hard work.

The sayings of Agur
Two things I request of You
(Deprive me not before I die):
Remove falsehood and lies far from me;
Give me neither poverty nor riches—
Feed me with the food allotted to me;
Lest I be full and deny You,
And say, “Who is the Lord?”
Or lest I be poor and steal,
And profane the name of my God.
Proverbs 30:7-9

That came to mind.

~ Rak Chazak

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