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Editorial Reflection

Loss of identity sets up a sense of solidarity

Theft of my identity in an unexpected way—putting my name and address on checks from a bank I don’t use and cashing them at chain stores—has been disconcerting, because I have to follow up when notices come to my home and bill collectors want to collect.

Because stores have accepted the checks without question, I repeatedly have to fill out affidavits that the checks are not mine.  Fortunately a police detective working on bad check cases saw surveillance tapes that included people writing some of these checks.  He recognized some of the people, so I hope I’ll soon see the end of this time-consuming and distracting experience.

In my feeling vulnerable and afraid, wondering what will happen next, losing control over some aspects of my life and even the ability to concentrate on anything else, I have stretched back into my identity and identified with the many displaced people who lose their identities.

I think of refugees fleeing their homes and homelands because of political and economic instability and injustice, because of warfare obliterating their neighborhoods, or because they spoke out to challenge systems that oppress.

I think of displaced workers whose jobs and co-workers’ lives went up in flames because of unsafe working conditions and their inability to flee a burning sweatshop where they earned a pittance making clothing sold cheaply in U.S. chains.

I think of displaced workers in our country and around the world who are educated but lost their careers and are now underemployed, balancing two or more under-paying part-time jobs to keep a roof over their heads and food on the table.

I think of people displaced by Hurricane Sandy in the Northeast United States coastal areas and the Caribbean, and of the people displaced by the many unusual and record-breaking storms in 2012.

I think of professionals displaced because their educations are now no longer a ticket to a career of assured income and benefits, and whose long-term investments, pensions, Social Security and Medicare are being undermined.

I think of the people displaced by austerity measures around the world—tightening the belts of those already squeezed and sacrificing in the recession/depression created by those who can’t imagine sharing their blessings with the country whose laws they manipulated for their personal gain.

I take time to remember and identify with those who have actually lost their identities.  I know that in spite of my periodic feelings of helplessness in the mess I face, I am not helpless.  Family and police are helping me bring those who are misrepresenting my name and address to justice.

Our role in this season of giving, gratitude, hope and sharing is to be faithful, to care and to be among those who welcome strangers who have lost their homes, to feed hungry people who are working hard, to respect competent people who have lost their jobs, to reach out to provide long-term assistance through our faith group channels to those displaced by storms, to be in solidarity with those who have lost their assurance of security, and to challenge those for whom more than enough is still not enough.

Through the community of faith, we keep our eyes opened to the broader picture of the world, rather than becoming lost in our losses.

Nancy Minard - Editorial Team

Copyright © December 2012 - The Fig Tree,