How does a child know where the neatly-packaged meat displayed on a store’s shelf come from? Or the clothes which hang on a mannequin displayed behind a plate of glass; or even of the glass itself? And what about the old man who shuffles by with a cane and a bent back?
The child walks by and the old man staggers, and what question does the little girl ask or does the old man disappear after the two pass by — poof! Like magic. Yet, the old man — and the little girl — each have a life beyond the mere passing; of a childhood one has and the childhood the other will yet have; of a home, a hearth, a heart full of memories harkening from here to there, or perhaps to nowhere.
In a village of yesteryear, the continuum of each life is known because everyone shares in the life of each other as a community of interconnected lives. In modernity, we give lip-service to “caring” and the continuum of life, but the reality is that we have no relationship with the person who stitched our clothes; nor do we know which animal from whence the meat came; or the farmer who grew the tomato in the produce section, let alone the life and problems of the person who stacked the Nestle cookies on the shelf so neatly.
The loss of continuum is how we live, and that is true of the Federal or Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition and goes into work — more often than not, none of the coworkers know the circumstances of the individual except that he or she is a “shirker” because he or she fails to “carry his own weight”, anymore.
Filing for Federal OPM Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is often a step towards regaining the continuum previously lost — at least for the individual whose career in the Federal Service is no longer appreciated in a community which has been dispersed with the loss of empathy and loss of continuum.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire