Insuring…what?

As part of the many transitions of this year, my wife and I are re-evaluating our life insurance. 


I struggle with the concept of life insurance in the first place.  I struggle with the whole fear-oriented approach that justifies and encourages the purchase of life insurance. I have similar difficulties (though different specific issues) with retirement planning and all of the other financial transactions that are considered de rigeur by middle and upper class America. It doesn’t help any that our life insurance is through a fraternal organization that serves our particular denomination. 


I’ll say at the outset that we have a wonderful, sweet representative that we like a great deal and are happy to work with.  But I still get the heebie-jeebies at going through this stuff.


Not because mortality particularly scares me.  While I’m much less eager for it than I might have been in my younger days, it doesn’t particularly scare me.  I know what lies beyond.  I have a promise better than any life insurance policy you can buy.  So I don’t worry about my death.  Which is fine, because a good life insurance agent won’t try to get you worried about death from your perspective.  They’d much rather get you worrying about what happens to your family after you’re gone.


This is admittedly a good selling point.  We’re blessed by God’s providence and some basic financial common sense to have no debt.  My wife works at home raising our three children.  My salary meets all of our temporal needs and even allows us to save for the future.  We live simply, but happily.  We lack nothing.


So what would happen to my wife and children if I kick the bucket?  Would I want my wife to have to go out and work to support herself?  Put the kids in daycare?  The picture is not a pleasant one.  Our rep, while sweet and wonderful, duly painted this picture.  How long would I want to provide for my wife and kids after my death?  Five years?  Ten years?  When would I want my wife to have to support herself?


Sheesh.  Talk about a guilt trip.  Talk about an expensive guilt trip!


How does life insurance fit into the overall idea of not worrying about what tomorrow will bring?  How does life insurance fit into the concept of give us this day our daily bread?  How does it fit into the idea of each person working and not having idle hands?  How does it fit into the idea of each sharing what they have, so that no one is in need?


I own life insurance.  I may even be buying a little more shortly.  But it makes me queasy in fundamental parts of me, and I want to try and figure out whether that queasiness is important to act on.  Or to refrain from acting on.  How do I fulfill my obligations to the family God has given me, when God is the one that determines when I leave this world? 


It hurts my head to think about it.  But not nearly as much as it hurts my spirit to ignore the issue. 

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