"The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things,
and the God of peace will be with you."
-Philippians 4:9

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Theft with a Shiny Bow on Top

You know how you think you're totally over something?  It's been worked through, prayed over, forgiven, resolved, and it's in your past... and then something comes along that brings it back up to the surface again and it blindsides you?  Yeah, that's been happening to me this week. And I'm not particularly proud of the range of reactions my thoughts have been serving up.

What's got me all in a dither? The whole health care as a campaign issue thing. I deliberately do not publicly get into political views and debates. Much like in the church, I feel that too much condemnation and judgementalism gets into too many of those conversations. I hold my beliefs. I live by them. I vote by them. And I am content to let you do the same. I will talk with you about them but I am well over trying to prove that I am right, you are wrong, and that if you don't see it my way you deserve a tongue-lashing. Civil exchange of ideas, I'm all for...but that's a rarity in today's culture.  To explain what I'm dealing with, however,  you're going to have to hear a bit of my political leanings. Please, please, please, do not view this as an opening. It's not meant as one. It's merely by way of context.

I don't like the idea of the government-mandated health care. I've disagreed with it's passage from the beginning. Yes, I'm totally aware of the expense of health care and the number of people living in poverty; I have been one of them. But I'd still rather have my own money spent my own way seeking my own doctors rather than have you force me to give you some of what I've earned so that you can choose the health care that is best for me. Why? Because I had that choice stripped of me before. I had an organization tell me that my family was to be - to quote a much-quoted Illinois candidate - "gifted with a health care plan that we were forced to purchase."  The problem was that I had already set up my budget in an adult manner, knowing I had no health coverage, and setting aside funds in reserve to pay to the doctors that I would see on a private-pay basis. I knew my family's unique health needs. We had no maintenance medications, we rarely became ill...but we did, in fact, plan to have babies. So we knew the cost of maternity care and were planning accordingly. We made adult decisions with our money based on the agreed-upon salary arrangements with our employer.  But then those funds were forcibly taken from our salary - while I was pregnant, no less - to pay for our gifted health care plan that HAD NO MATERNITY COVERAGE. So...an organization that found out that we hadn't purchased medical coverage became appalled that we didn't have what it perceived we needed, then didn't bother to ask about our needs or our reasoning, and bought us something with our own money that didn't meet our needs, so we still wound up paying out of pocket for what we did need.

Fast-forward to this election cycle.  I'm seeing many people from that same organization decrying the fact that now federal mandate is doing the same thing to them. Really? It was okay to do to me. You knew what was best for our family but you want to be treated like thinking adults who know what's best for yourselves? I know. Bitterness has no place when forgiveness has happened. No part of me should be asking, "So how's it feel now?"  But an ugly part of me is saying just that. God and I are having to deal with that.

 Part of me is begging them to open their eyes and see how deeply hurtful it is when we decide FOR OTHERS what they ought to be doing/thinking and then force or manipulate them into it. Organizations - religious, political, and otherwise - need to think carefully when they begin imposing themselves - even their well-intentioned selves - on the freedoms of individuals. Sacrifices great and small have been made to secure freedom in both spiritual and political realms. There was a reason for that.