Thursday, October 16, 2008

it makes me feel better to give

Yesterday was Blog Action Day -- a day for bloggers to raise awareness and trigger a global discussion on the subject of poverty.

Two blogs that I read daily were active participants. And neither one surprised me. (There may have been others that I missed.)

Laurie of
Laurie´s Blog Spot is working in Honduras to alleviate poverty. She is surrounded by people who have so little, any small gesture is appreciated.

Wayne of Isla Mujeres: Gringo in Paradise, as we know, has been arranging knitted gifts for the children of Xico, and urged his readers to donate through the PayPal link on Viva Veracruz .

I have written on this topic several times over the past week. But I will stick my oar in again.

There is poverty in every community. In some rich communities, it is camouflaged by wealth. In poor countries, such as Honduras, the poverty is overwhelming in its ubiquity. Mexico is somewhere in between.

Most of us get overwhelmed by the travails of the poor. Even if I were to give away everything I own, I could improve the lives of very few. What I can do is help when I see opportunities arise.

And that includes big gestures like reaching into my pocket and giving a homeless person as much as I can spare (or more), or helping the elderly woman get her groceries into her rolling cart. The trick is to look for people who have problems, rather than looking through them.

Last night in the park, I ran into James and Candace, a couple who has been camping in the park for a week. (I think I have been able to get hem readmitted to a shelter. It is a long story.) They were having their dinner. When Candace saw Jiggs, she jumped up, ran over to him, and gave him what was left of her sandwich. I tried to stop her, but Jiggs is a very gracious (and eager) receiver of all food gifts.

I felt awful. They had so little, and they gave part of their food to my pampered dog. Her response almost made me tear up. She said: "I could have eaten it. But it makes me feel better to give."

"It makes me feel better to give." Candace understands how the root of poverty can be solved by healing relationships one person at a time.

It does feel good to give. We may not eliminate poverty, but we can help those put in our path.


glorv1 said...

Steve, you are a very thoughtful and caring person. Some of the things that I do as much as possible is share all we grow in the garden with seniors at a senior center. I take them boxes of tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, chili's and whatever the garden holds. That to me is a very good feeling, especially when I walk in with the goodies and they say, "Here comes the tomato lady." Take care.

richland said...

Steve, this is an issue that I have wrestled a long time and I wasn't going to post it but then I thought if you aren't honest with people who you admire who are you honest with.

My concern is the story about the boy throwing washed up sand dollars into the water. Someone said "What does it matter" He responded as he threw one back "Well it matters to this one."

The other story comes from Carlos Castenda about someone who stopped to move a caterpillar who was crossing the road to safety. The person in the book said "You have interfered with his journey".

There is that conflict in me between helping and acknowledging that we each have our own journey in life. You did say help those who cross our path. I have issues when people step into other's paths. Each of us does have a journey that may be very different from our own.

Never have resolved this one.

Steve Cotton said...

Gloria -- Putting good produce to use is not only good sewardship; it is good for the soul.

Richard -- I understand the tension. I deal with it a lot. James and Candace are perfect examples of those in need who are willing to accept help and to share what they have, but will not become dependent on helping hands. They simply want to be helped along.

I have a friend who has spent most of his life behind bars. He sees almost every new person as a possible source of income -- because he chooses not to live without the help of others.

Then there is the lady in the park, who I have mentioned before, who cannot form sentences and shrinks back in fear whenever I offer her anything.

One approach does not suit everyone. I can only ask for discernment that I can offer help where it will further the journey.

Jackie said...

I came across the Blog Action 2008 Poverty site on Sunday and emailed a few other bloggers like Wayne that I thought would be interested in posting about it. Whenever I can I try to help out in my own way to make other have a better life.