Many of my readers know that our family has been through a bit of a rough spot over the past few years (see A Business Lost, Head Sense vs. Heart Sense). One of the things I have learned during this difficult time is that if God presents an opportunity I should take it. A couple of weeks ago, that opportunity presented itself.
My Aunt Carol called out of the blue. We live in the same town, and see each other on Facebook regularly, but hardly ever talk on the phone. She told me that a reporter from our local paper had interviewed her for a story about rental prices in the Napa Valley and how hard it is to get into a rental if you have a Section 8 housing certificate. Aunt Carol has a full-time job with Child Start and is a mom to three adult daughters, adopted mom to one preschooler and foster mom of three boys, all under the age of five. She is a saint, let me tell you. Anyway, she said that while she was talking to the reporter, she “felt a burden on her heart” to talk about our family. The reporter expressed an interest in talking to us so Aunt Carol was calling to give me the reporter’s phone number.
Now it was obvious to me that this was a sign from God, but being the attention-phobic person that I am I was still leery of “going public” with our problem. I know, I know, I’ve talked about it on the blog, but I have a readership of 200 on a good day and the local paper has a readership in the tens of thousands. I hope you’ll understand my trepidation. So I passed the phone number to Art.
The reporter, Jennifer, was so taken with her interview with Art, that she got permission from her editor to run a full story on us on the front page of the paper on Palm Sunday. (You can go here to read the whole story.) The point was not to make a big deal about us, but to put a face on a problem that is happening all over our country – families who used to be middle class that have been catapulted into poverty as a result of the current economic situation.
I didn’t know what to expect once the story ran – wasn’t sure how people would react. Of course there were a few who accused us of being “lazy” and “begging”. One even asked if we had paid the paper to run a front page story about us. (Seriously?) But 98% of the reaction was positive. We have been so overwhelmed by the outpouring of good wishes and support from complete strangers as well as good friends. Our problem is not one that can be solved overnight, but just having it out in the open and knowing we’re not alone has made it so much easier to bear.