|Taken early this morning as the sun was coming up.|
All those sweetness and light ads making you assume that Christmas is about buying stuff to make people happy are evil. Not everyone is able to buy food this time of year, much less an automobile, French perfume or an exercise bike! I hate the commercialism more than anything. Yes, there are lovely decorative lights covering homes (adding to global warming), there are rich and delicious foods (contributing to obesity and diabetes), and there are numerous parties where you have to find another fancy dress and hire that expensive babysitter to make small talk with people you barely know. (I do not get invited to any of these anymore, needless to say). OK, I will give you the music. That is the good stuff. (Unless it starts getting played before Thanksgiving.) Yes, I am Debbie Downer today!
I am almost in tears right now as I type this because that young man who knocked on my door asking for chores a few weeks ago so that he could bring home some food is back this morning. We gave his number to the food pantry folks and maybe they called. Maybe his mother was too proud and hung up on them. Maybe she accepted the charity and her family can eat again. I do not know, but on this snowy day with schools closed, this young man is back asking to shovel my driveway. It will be totally melted by this afternoon as most of the snow has disappeared where the sun hits the driveway. He asked for maybe $20. I, of course, said I would love to have him shovel it. I am thinking of having him shovel my back deck so I can pay him more. I do not know how far he walked to get to my house. I also realize he does not want charity and I am being careful.
An hour later he knocks on my door and as I pay him and hand him a bag of persimmon bread and homemade cookies, he tells me he has graduated from high school and is taking classes when he can at the local community college. That is good news although he seems to lack the sharpness and sophistication that will be needed when he moves forward into adulthood. I ask for his number and tell him my husband may call if he needs a young helper. He is really pleased with the baked goods and gives me a surprising hug.
I wish I could believe in a God, but this just makes my heart so heavy that such poverty is common. It is not some Christmas novel, it is real life and I hate that children have to deal with this! I just drove my very privileged and lovely grandchildren back home with their dirty clothes separated so that the "maids" can do the laundry. Along the trip they had their faces glued to their various technology toys. They are good kids, but I have serious concerns about whether they will understand the world. Even more, I wish I was rich enough to start a foundation in this county that can help families like this young man's. Yes, we all give to various foundations, but it is not enough.
Looking forward to getting past this time of year.
What you wrote is very touching. I'm glad he came back! We have sponsored children (and you can adopt elderly also) through Unbound. (unbound.org). We write (now via computer) back and forth and one of our sponsored children actually died of food poisoning (a common problem...south America.. ours are). The money goes primarily to their education, to work towards self-sufficiency. These children are so dutiful towards studying and it is heartwarming. AndreaReplyDelete
Heart felt post. Yet, stranger at the door brings memories that cause fear. The world isn't always a good place, but it is our only planet. I believe no matter where the socioeconomic level, the children of today will know as well as understand the hardships humans face in poverty, and living with abuse.ReplyDelete
Can't add to what you said-- other than the other tough thing is figuring out who genuinely needs help and who is scamming us. :( The scammers don't cheat us. They cheat the rest of the poor when they make us reluctant to help them.ReplyDelete
I agree completely. and to it I would add the hypocrisy of helping/noticing the homeless only at this time of year to feel good about themselves, the myth that this is the most magical time of year, that you will get your heart's desire, and I think the thing I detest most about this time of year is the attitude that any tragedy that happens at this time of year is worse because it ruins christmas. I just want to throttle the speaker whenever someone utters that particular bit of bullshit. the spouse that dies of cancer, the accident that ruins or takes a life, the spouse that blindsides the other with a request for divorce, etc., whatever the tragedy, it is not worse because it happened 2 or 3 days or weeks before christmas.ReplyDelete
Oddly I am reading a fiction about that very thing. A woman and man destroying their lives right before Christmas.Delete
Agree with your sentiments about the commercialism of Christmas... and about life in general. And have to say that I love that picture!ReplyDelete
I agree, for the reasons you mentioned. I don't know what to do either. I fear sometimes my giving is whimsical, and not based on either logic or emotion.ReplyDelete
Best to you this season. It's an unusual winter here in Montana. Way, way warmer than it should be, lows in the 20's, highs in the high 30's. Should be minus 20, high of 0. And no snow for the last month. Month!
Christmas has been lost, along with so many other things. We have been in the position of not having enough to eat in the house, but we made too much to get help and too little to pay the bills and buy groceries. It's hard to know what to do.ReplyDelete
You are Debbie Downer, and while I understand your point of view, and share some of it, I also thinkReplyDelete
Christmas is what you make it to be, just like anything else. It is possible to help others and also create some joy around you. Yes, give me lights and holiday food and friendly gatherings, and gifts too. Give me all of the trappings and trimmings. January will be long and dark, and time enough for brooding on the human condition.
Thank you for helping that young man. That should bring you joy, as it did to him.
You are right, Linda, in that it did bring me a little joy. I want the human condition to be braodly better though. I it cannot be good in this country, is there hope for all those poorer countries? I do not want to bring down your Christmas and your Joy, but this just hit me in the gut.Delete
Commercialism is year ‘round with increasing efforts to add more holidays to the madness which culminates around Christmas. If people didn’t buy into it the craziness would stop. That leaves the rest of us to just ignore all the promos and parents to demonstrate values to their kids.ReplyDelete
We’ve had enough rip-off for drugs instances in our area we don’t give cash to individuals seeking same and law enforcement discourages responding to strangers coming to door — often casing the property.. At stores, restaurants, offering to go inside to give money to cashier allowing them to select a purchase generally results in angry refusal — they want the cash for alcohol or drugs. We refer them to one of several sites to which we can donate but that also can help them seek even more long range support as warranted, if they genuinely need it. I guess this may sound hard-nosed to some people but it does help assure that those in need are the ones receiving assistance and an opportunity for even long term benefits to help themselves. People have also been falsely collecting cash standing in medium at traffic lights, freeway exits that has been repeatedly exposed. Hard to know who to trust and older folks, especially those alone, really need to take care.
The Christmas tra la la, annoys me too Tabor. Our country needs an economy based on more than grabbing up consumer goods. And why are there Christmas decorations in the stores at Halloween? My contributions go to the local food bank who does not require anything of people other than to bring a box to carry their food in and the organizations who help house and feed homeless children and young people. I have handed out $ on the street but frankly I don't care if a few "undeserving people" get something now and then. Do take care of yourself and don't assume you know what got someone out on that corner.ReplyDelete
Your piece moved me. I think what you are doing for that young man is quite wonderful. That's the spirit.ReplyDelete
Geez, thanks, Tabor . . . just when I was being pulled out of my funk by the cheery Christmas elf who is my friend and neighbor you come along with a dose of reality. This post brought me to tears and I am determined to make this season of giving be filled with giving to those in need.ReplyDelete
What a moving post, Tabor. Thank you for helping this young man, and thank you for reminding us of the real meaning of Christmas.ReplyDelete
We cannot save everyone but we all have the power to help some. There are so many organizations that are there to help those that struggle and they all need volunteers. When you give your time to others, your life is also made better. It is through giving that we receive.ReplyDelete
You just made me realize how accustomed I have become to all the homeless people I see every day. Thank you for helping that young man. I wish that the world we live in was more just and caring than it is. Sigh. I hear you.ReplyDelete
Dear Grumpy...We all hear you. Thank you for helping. Yes, helping one person helps more than one. Why not volunteer with an organization that helps homeless. Here one shelter was washed away by the rain that turned over all their port-a-potties. The 300 folks were all relocated to our cold football stadium, and the whole community is rallying around them. Who knows what one action might do.ReplyDelete
A very sad blog. I am not sure how we can bring everyone into a world where there is 'fair shares'. It is the same in this country of course, people not able to afford food on social benefit. In the end we can only help the individual by giving money to them and perhaps most important of all, remembering that poverty is not just at Christmas, it spirals through the year.ReplyDelete
The reality of our world is a sad commentary on our society. If we did our part to help at least one other person, the world would be better. You are doing something for that young man.ReplyDelete
To your note: I try not to weaken, and I make it a point to laugh a lot. I write big if someone needs to read it. Sorry today wasn't a good one. You can tell me all about the movie tomorrow night. Hey, as long as no one is in jail, it's all ok. Hugs.ReplyDelete