As I just sat here and was griping over listening to my daughter get frustrated with my father (who thinks he knows it all) over the past two hours trying to set her iPod Nano up with him in CA and remoting into my computer, I became frustrated as well. I even had a drink to calm my nerves, which isn’t something I do often. Between that and other issues going on with other people, a knee-jerk reaction of mine is to become overwhelmed and to either write off those people or just shut them out at the time being. Now that this little storm has passed, I am left wondering why I allowed myself to get all worked up over nothing.
Then it dawned on me…recently I saw a homeless man sitting out in the cold during some of our coldest days here, sitting out on a bench outside. Sun was shining but it was about 15°F with a wind chill making it in the single digits. The man’s face was ruddy and red from the elements and he was holding onto a cup of coffee. He looked worn down and beaten down, like life had taken a toll on him. My heart ached horribly for him, but what could I as a citizen with her own problems, do to help him? As it stands, due to rising crime in my town and county, I am leery of anyone and everyone I don’t know. People lurking in shadows. People staring at me as I drive in my car getting ready to get out of it. It’s gotten to the point where I am so paranoid I am ready to take shooting lessons and apply for my concealed weapons permit once I feel safe enough with a gun and learn gun safety. But I digress… This man could be my father. This man could be someone I love. Hell, this man could be me. How fortunate am I to live the life I do, to have what I have.
Prior to this I had been saying I wanted to downgrade, that we do not need as much as we have. We could ditch the satellite television subscription once my contract is up (which I am likely doing) next year. We could stop spending excess money on things we do not need. My hopes are for that in the next year, to cut down on frivolous, unnecessary things and to start saving more money and pay off debts faster. My biggest fear is and has always been a loss of income, a loss of a job. I have been in that position before and it was very scary. I do all I can to maintain and keep my job, even if that meant I needed to take a paycut to ensure I stay employed, I would certainly do that.
But in the end, right now we have a roof over our heads, we have more than enough food to keep us full and healthy. We have a lot to be thankful for. I won’t lie when I say that I do tend to pass judgment fast on those who are hard on their luck – mostly the ones I know who choose drugs over living a sober life. Yes, it is true I do not understand what a massive addiction entails. For me it is easy to say what I feel, which is that it is a choice. It is a choice to do the drugs, to get addicted to them and destroy lives in the process. I’ve said before that I do not have sympathy for the addict, only sympathy for those they leave behind in their paths of destruction. It is heartless of me to say, but after I have been screwed over by people who I thought I could trust, or family, in the past because they needed their fix, I have a hard time feeling sorry for any addict. We have addicts in my family – former addicts. Alcohol, no drugs from what I do know. My point is, I thought about this man, what if he was an addict and was struggling to survive and couldn’t detox off of drugs? It is a very common problem I see here.
Then I think, there but for the grace of God, I go. I don’t believe in God, but a little compassion won’t hurt either. Something in that man’s eyes made me ache horribly for him. And while I wanted to pull over and offer him something to eat, something at all, I knew I couldn’t. Truthfully speaking, right now I know we are in a season where people prey upon others sympathies for personal gain, and that is hard for me. This is where it becomes a double edged sword for me.
Typically, I am a giving person. I have even been a chump in the past. I have given to those less fortunate than myself who showed no signs of being grateful, not even a thank you, who went on to gain more sympathy and more money from others. This is why I have to shut my heart down during the holidays. Otherwise I would be broke by trying to help out those less fortunate than myself.
I realize I am all over the place today as my mind is in about, oh, a million places today, but this is what I wanted to get off my chest. While I have other goals in my life for better health, I have other things I don’t typically blog about – such as my life, or beliefs, etc. What it truly boils down to is, there are ways to help those less fortunate than us – donating to your local food bank is a great place to start. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays.