I have been in a pit of depression for weeks now. There have been occasional moments during those weeks where I think I am pulling out of the pit, but generally something comes along to knock me back into this dark pit of depression.
The most recent event that sent me back into the pit involved my computer. About 8 years ago I made a really good decision and bought an Apple Mac Mini. My father had given all the kids some money and I needed a new computer. It was a good decision. That was 8 years ago. I exist on Ontario Disability, which gives me enough to make it from one month to another. Saving money is extremely difficult and the thought of having to buy another computer is terrifying. I cannot work and have no money behind me.
The other day I had the idea of doing video podcasts and putting them on YouTube. A lot of people do this and I thought it might be fun to try it. I have always had iMovie on my computer, at least I thought I had it. When I went to the App Store to download a new copy of it, I discovered that my computer is too old. The new version won’t work and Apple does not offer superseded versions of their programs to people with older computers. When I spoke to an Apple tech about options, he told me to buy a new computer.
I know a guy at my church who uses Apple computers for work. I thought he might have an older copy of iMovie that he could give me. It’s a free program. In an email exchange which I clearly misunderstood, he sent an email message telling me that for $400 it was mine. He had mentioned he had an old laptop and I thought he was talking about the old laptop. Later, I realized he was referring to the free program and it was a joke. My response was that I did not have $400 and if I did I would be inclined to use it to support World Vision children, or to help buy clothing for poor people who didn’t have proper clothing for the winter, or to host Thanksgiving dinner for people who had nowhere to go and would be alone on Thanksgiving.
My church has a large Bible study on Wednesday nights which I attend. This week we talked about the parable of the great feast in Luke 14. In the study guide, one of the questions asked, “What do you think this parable would look like today, in 2017?” or something like that. Oddly, no one could answer this question or offer any insights about what the great feast might look like today. The people at this Bible study, almost to a person, are affluent enough that they would likely give no more thought to buying a car or a computer than I would to buying a cup of coffee. My perception of these people, whether it is accurate or not, is that these are fairly rich people.
Am I poor? Yes I am, but I am not World Vision poor. I am not as poor or impoverished as people in 3rd world countries. That is a different understanding of poverty. I am first-world poor. One man at my church told me that anyone on Ontario Disability or social assistance is so far below the poverty line they can’t see it looking up. I think that is a pretty fair understanding of first-world poverty. I now wonder if it is easier to be poor in a place where everyone else is equally impoverished than it is in a place where one person is poor among relative great wealth. When people make jokes about $400 as if it’s pocket change, the reality of my poverty rises to the surface and it can trigger depression. I sink into that pit of murky, foggy depression where I realize that I am poor, that buying another Mac Mini is impossible unless someone buys it for me — and I know that isn’t going to happen.
I am writing this post from the pit of depression. It is my perspective today. It is a snapshot of where I am today.