When we get offended, we sometimes choose to hold onto anger, bitterness, and pride. None of this puts us in right relationship with God, others, or ourselves. It only serves to alienate us from others.

Father Michael White, “Messages of Letting Go for Lent 2021.”

Resentments will kill me.

Last March I was laid off from my job because of Covid-19. Throughout the pandemic, I’ve worked a side-gig to help make ends meet while also collecting unemployment (NY allows you to do this, up to a certain amount of $$$).

There has been much discussion about Covid relief payments to laid people. Some of it kind, some of it not so kind. Many people are in favor of those like me receiving some kind of relief from the government. A few are not.

It’s those few who have stuck in my mind.

“If we keep giving them money, what incentive do they have to work?” is what I’ve heard in various forms. It’s a rather cynical view of the American worker; that the only reason we work is because of money; if we had the chance, we would choose not to work at all.

My faith has taught me that work is an integral part of who we are; that work makes us more complete human beings. Work can be redemptive.

Nevertheless, I am irked by the notion that getting money from the government will somehow make me lazier. I am more than irked. I actually resent the implications.

Resentment will kill me. It will make me angry, and keep me there. It will color my relationships. It’s just not good.

So how do I turn that around?

Gratitude.

As crazy as it may sound, I am grateful to those who voiced their opposition to Covid relief. They forced me to deal with my resentment. That’s always a good thing.

I am also exceptionally grateful for the extra $$$ we get from Pandemic unemployment benefits. Not only does it help us pay our bills, but more importantly, it enables me to be a caregiver to my Dad. While my brother is his primary caregiver, I am my brothers respite care giver. Every day after work, I go to Dad, allowing my brother much needed relief.

If I did not receive this extra unemployment insurance, I would HAVE to work a second job. This would make me almost completely unable to be my brothers respite care giver. He would have no one who could be there on a regular, daily basis. I can be that person solely because of this added relief. There will be a day when we no longer have it, and when it comes I may have some difficult decisions to make. And I’m okay with that, because no matter how long I receive these added benefits, I will always be grateful I had them at all.

RESOURCES:

Messages of Letting Go for Lent 2021, Father Michael White

Network for Grateful Living

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