Thursday, 24 January 2008

Movin' on up

Tomorrow Vic and I will be driving a long distance to pick up the car we have been looking to buy for quite some time. Soon we will be the proud owners of a Toyta Prius. With this great decision and some other things that have been happening to me, I have realized something very confusing to my self identity: I am now officially part of the upper middle class. Yes, it's true that you could say I grew up in this class but I had no concept of what it meant because I didn't understand the implications of status. As children, we were provided for and never were in need of things but we also were not spoiled with luxuries.
But I started to realize the power of money when I began to have less and less. While I was in seminary we were all poor grad students who sacrificed much in order to earn our degrees. Once again, the life was not uncomfortable and I learned that MANY things in life are not necessary. As a student body we suffered together with our crappy health insurance in the hopes that one day we would become pastors or professionals and then rid of this headache.
Now, however, I am no longer part of that crowd. Yes, we still have debt and expenses but there is something inside of me that holds on to a bit of guilt. Now, if you know me then you know that I have ALWAYS had a guilty conscience but now that I am married I have to think of Victor's conscience too.
Now the purchase of our newest member of the family has made me think about these things all over again. Do I let go of my guilt or do I use it in a positive way to create change in the system? What do people do when they have power that they did not necessarily ask for or want?

At least we didn't buy a hummer... I would rather throw myself into a den of lions.


Paula said...

Your blog entry makes me think of many by gone conversations in grad school about disparities in education (caused mainly by disparities in income), now I spend a great part of my life talking about disparities in healthcare. I think as a part of the upper middle class it is our jobs not to sit ideally but to try and create some sort of systemaic change. Unfortuantely, I'm learning that is a lot easier said than done.

Anonymous said...

As to avoiding money guilt, I choose to live simply and donate time and money to non-profits that work for systemic change, economic parity, and peace. You have the power to vote with your wallet - spending in such a way that reflects your core values. Guilt comes from deviating from these. For example, I have Quaker Friends who oppose the tax money spent on war, so they choose to earn just enough to barely live on and pay no taxes at all. Some of these people have PH.Ds and work only part-time to accomplish this. Money is power. Help the powerless. Chaplain Debbie