I applaud churches, community organizations, non-profits, that have not yielded their outreach efforts because of the perceived and real effects of the recession. I also commend those who have not stopped giving to such organizations in the face of "hard times." For a summer camp coordinator who has learned the millions of uses of colored construction paper, there is a certain personal innovation that is at work in us when we choose to focus not on what we have lost, but what we have gained. In some (few) ways, I am thankful for the recession. It has humbled the whole world. It has forged the hand of creativity in our lives. Not just in our innovative design of spaceships and hybrid cars, but in our everyday interactions with one another. We learn that the face of compassion, goodwill, altruism and perseverance have stayed the same thorough it all. The means by which we accomplish them have changed. The recession has been a reality check to anyone who thinks that throwing money at a problem will solve it. The recession serves as a reminder that whether our paychecks, families, or aspirations are big or small, we are all linked in a string of fate and that only our loyalty to one another and our dedication to creativity and idealism will survive such things.
I'm not saying that we should not recognize the recession and its effects, I'm saying that maybe we shouldn't reach for it as an excuse for our inability to recognize what makes communities and families and individuals strong to begin with. That realization, that diagnosis, doesn't require a community organizer, a blogger, a rocket scientist or even an economist.