Thursday, November 30, 2006

How can I keep from giving?

For all that I can be suspicious and write some cynical stuff, most of the people I've worked with are great and really need the food./clothing/gas I ran a food program and clothes closet right out of college and found it a source of strength in other times to reflect on what I've been able to do for others.

I don't think I've told the story here, but once upon a time I had a teacher - Mr. McCullough - he was doing a class on prejudice. My twin brother had the same class later in the day and was told not to answer any questions that day as he entered. The example of my parents was the problem. Mr. McCullough asked the class what would happen if a stranger came to the door and asked for food. And I knew. I raised my hand and said that my parents would get them some. And Mr. McCullough started to describe someone diry and ragged and such and I started to raise my hand again. And was told to not answer the question. For some reason this high school teacher didn't want my brother to ruin his point in a later class the way I did.

My parents learned at home. One of the stories from the depression is that mother's parents always had a couple of hired hands. It wasn't because they needed them - not with five boys. But they had people show up and they 'hired' them - sometimes with just food and lodging because that's all they had - until they could get another job.

Or should I mention my cousin who appeared at her parent's house for dinner with several men in tow. They were migrant laborers who were planning to get their Friday paychecks and go home to New Mexico for the weekend. But the boss didn't pay them on Friday as he wanted them on Saturday. So they were out of money, out of food and she brought them home and her parents fed them.

I grew up knowing the joy of helping people out. That's why even though I can by cynical and disbelieving when people ask for help I won't stop doing it just because I might get taken. If I'm conned so what. There are more people out there that I've helped and that I've seen appreciate it and that have needed that extra moment of caring that enriches me more than it does them and so .... I keep on rejoincing and giving because that's part of what makes for a life that is worthwhile.

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