On Monday I wrote about privilege; this post from December 2014 — way back near the start of this chapter — talks about privilege, too. Throughout my life I have considered myself to be blessed — to have abundance because of the generosity of God. I will render to God the praise that is God’s, but I will also acknowledge that I have privilege because I am white and Christian in a country that has historically benefitted white Christian people at the expense of others.
I am writing late today, and as I sit at my desk, the sun is setting over the river. I can see it right out my window. It. is. gorgeous.
Today was a pretty bleak day weather-wise — cold and gray –and the task on the to-do list was also pretty bleak: a trip to the Secretary of State’s office — the DMV.
If you ever want to feel like you don’t live in a free, democratic society, go to the DMV. It’s one of the few places where I feel like I am a pawn. I stood in line to get a number to mark my place in line — no kidding. Then, I sat with that number for over an hour. Of course I made it out with what I came for. I didn’t have to bribe an employee or bring in a chicken or anything like that, but I sure did feel like I was in a prisoner to the system.
I wasn’t alone. Everyone there was complaining — Why does this take so long? I have been here for two hours already! I really had to pay $30 for this piece of paper?
It’s a glimpse at what people around the world have to go through every single day. A glimpse, not a clear look. Let’s be honest — we’ve got it pretty good. Most Americans have running water, a toilet, a refrigerator, heat, probably air conditioning, and if you are reading this, I will bet that you have access to the Internet. We’ve got so many clothes we can’t decide what to wear to the gym. And, yes, many of us have memberships to gyms. We have dozens, if not hundreds of channels on our televisions. We have the resources to purchase Christmas presents for our families, our coworkers, our friends, and our spouses. We can drive, in our cars, to the nearest pharmacy and pick up a remedy for anything that ails us along with a gallon of milk, a bag of chips, and a pack of cigarettes if we wish.
I really have no right to complain about the DMV. It’s a pain — yes. I’ve been there three times since I moved to Ann Arbor four months ago — I am starting to recognize the employees. I have to dedicate a morning or an afternoon each time I go there, but it’s the only place I go where this is the case. The only place.
Even when I go to the University of Michigan for health care, I am seen in a reasonable amount of time by some of the top physicians in the nation, if not the world. I go to the Post Office and pay a small fee and my package is shipped anywhere I like. I drop by the library and borrow books, DVDs, and CDs, for free! I travel easily by highway or airline. I am free to get an education, to hold a job, and to vote.
Many in the world do not enjoy most of the privileges that we enjoy. We forget that. We forget that 38% of the world does not have access to adequate sanitation, half of the citizens of the world live on $6 a day, 24% of the people in the world have no electricity, 47% of the people in the world do not have a reliable or adequate food supply (If the World Were a Village, 2011).
I have much to be thankful for — I ate plenty all day long, I drove my car to Bible study where I was free to practice my religion, I came home to a warm house, I went out to the DMV, then came back home to sit at my computer, write whatever I feel like writing, and look out my window at the sun setting over the river. I am blessed — and privileged.
Freely you have received; freely give.Matthew 10:8
4 thoughts on “Blessed at the DMV, a re-visit”
I read your post today as I have each day for the past few days. They are both entertaining and enlightening, thank you. Much like your day, mine was filled with errands that started with a 5 a.m. drive to Grand Ledge to take Herb to work (my car broke).
First I’ll comment on the secretary of State- SOS- as I prefer to call it, as I feel like I leave my soul at the door each time I step across the threshold into an all day excursion based upon the premise of sit and wait. Fortunately, today was filled with other duties.
I arrived back home at 7:30am, left at 9 to go to the bank, then to the cable company to argue- yes argue- about the 108.52$ worth of overcharges on the monthly bill. (By the way this is for the rental house-not us, we don’t have cable tv). Then to the phone store to pay my phone and internet bill- oops I forgot the number for the data card.
Home again I go, and oh yes, I forgot to grab the large envelopes to drop off at the post office. Home- Ok, I have everything I need this time- Back to the phone store, paid the bill, now on to the post office to mail the very important papers.
While standing in line and finally making some headway towards the counter of 2 employees I realized that I haven’t made copies of these very important papers I was about to mail across the country. Since my printer is also broken, I had to drive across town again to office max. Ok, here I go again. Copies made, back to the post office. Uh Oh! I forgot Herbs shirts that HAVE TO go to the dry cleaners as he has a very important interview on Friday morning. Back home to pick up the shirts run them to the dry cleaners, NOW can I go back to the post office? While driving down Grand River avenue the number 20 CATA bus pulls right in front of me_SLAM On the breaks, swerve into another lane and nearly hit a student pedestrian. Now on to the post office. Ugggh. 25-30 people in line- looks like I arrived just in time for the late afternoon rush. 1-1/2 hours later I have finally 24 hour mailed my envelope. Phone rings, it’s Herb “Pick me up at 5” OK– Back to Grand Ledge.
What a blessing filled day we’ve had. I am grateful the today I can walk out my front door to do errands- Today I am grateful that I dressed myself. I took my own medicine with out fear of taking the wrong ones. I didn’t use my walker, I used my cane and although I forgot many things today, I found my way home – by myself. I didn’t cry because I was lost and I didn’t have to call anyone for help. Much improved. Today I am blessed.
Nice, Pam…sounds like you have some health issues, too. Prayers for you.
You too- the health issues. I prayers for your recovery.
Yes I do have some health issues. 7 years ago I was at what you might call the peak of health. I worked on the 4th floor- never took the elevator. I was working for and EP (electrophysiology) office doing chemical stress testing for cardiac patients preparing for various surgeries. I never used the elevator, I ran up the stairs, and walked my lunches. I really liked my job, it seemed to be my niche in health care. I was walking around the small lake we lived on nearly each day- 2-3 miles.
One bright sunny day Herb and I were sitting at a red light and a “hung-over” MSU- son of the lead law professor- raced a red light, hit the person opposite us and then spun out to hit us…..we bounced him nearly 100 feet away. They had to cut me out of the car. Herb was uninjured, the other driver was severely injured the kid that caused the accident was uninjured.
I seemed fine and uninjured- until a few hours later when I started having multiple symptoms. Cervical spine injury, hip, shoulder, TBI, and a host of other things crept up over the next 4 months. Resulting in many surgeries and countless procedures. I am always in recovery and probably will always need some sort of physical therapy for strength and maintenance. Walking int he water at the Y helps tremendously. But I am alive and here and have an incredibly blessed life with my husband. Where I was in 2008 and where I am now is leaps and bounds forward- I have no complaints.
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