It’s been a strange weekend that culminated in some revelations; several as a matter of fact. With the world full of premises, often left unquestioned it’s very easy to find cynicism and anger taking over one’s life. That reached a crisis point, so to speak, over this weekend, as I found myself in danger of crossing that unseen line and allowing cynicism to take over my life.
Of all the mundane places for such a crisis to take place, this one happened in a grocery store. A woman in her mid to late forties came up to me and asked for some money to buy some food. I turned her away because I didn’t have any at the time because I rarely carry cash. But that’s not the real reason I turned her away. In my mind I was thinking she’s a boozer or some other form of addict and I wasn’t giving up my money to feed her habit. I went on about my business and finished my own grocery shopping and at the register, I punched in $20 over… which I didn’t really need the cash myself but thought it might come in handy for hubby to have a little cash on hand, perhaps to eat lunch at a fast food joint or something with the cold weather, perhaps buy a lottery ticket which I don’t do as often as hubby likes.
Outside the store, my path crossed that of the woman’s again. She asked again for food money. Again I turned her away with the same excuse. But then, in a split second argument with myself, I pulled out the $20 I had gotten at the register and handed it to her. She looked at it in total shock because all she was asking for was a couple of dollars. She looked dumbfounded and I suppose my own expression was pretty much the same. She stammered a thank you and turned away.
I came home and put away my groceries and went back to work on Christmas presents. I’ll scrape up a few dollars to buy some cheap toys for the grandsons (they’re easily pleased so anything of their interests will do). Last year, I made the boys housecoats. I made them a little big for growing room and they wear them every day since and they still have about another year of room in them so I went a different route this year for them. They treasure those coats because mammaw made them. One day, I suppose, like my children did before adulthood, they’ll just have to have the latest gadgets and fashions and so on but for now, it’s special when it’s made from the heart. Christmas this year will be almost totally homemade.
Given the other crises this family has experienced over the last 6 months or so, especially of the financial kind, it has become increasingly easy to become so cynical that one is unable to function the way God intended. I was in danger of this happening to me. Perhaps the money was to buy alcohol or drugs, although I doubt it. I believe the person was in real need. The story here isn’t the amount of money but taking on faith that this was a person who was in need and I chose to help when even a week ago my cynicism would have gotten the better of me. When you’re experiencing financial hardships yourself, it’s also easier to become so self-absorbed you don’t focus on anything else. I had to remember: No matter how hard things become or rough the path to something better, there are times when we need to stop and lift up somebody else to keep them going, too. Sure, I could have used the money myself in a dozen different ways but I will never be so hard up that I can’t find anything in me to give to someone else whether it’s money or simply a helping hand to lift someone up after a fall.
As a nation, we’ve become more cynical and less caring or trusting. We continually look to government to be our conscience because we just can’t take the time out of our busy busy busy lives to tend to it ourselves. Giving that $20 to the government would not have affected that woman’s life in any way except perhaps indirectly and even that unlikely. Some things demand the direct approach and it’s up to us, as individuals, to choose to act. Such things are individual actions.
Did I also tell you that the woman had an accent although she spoke English well? That should have been a big red flag, right? It wasn’t so all you libs can get your knickers out of wads now.
Mexico, among other Latin American countries, has some really archaic laws still on the books. I can see why some people are desperate enough to cross the border illegally due to those laws. However, along with those who are desperate, there are a huge number who are taking advantage of the laxity and committing heinous crimes… everything from murder to identity theft… with little fear of suffering the consquences. Commit a crime, you get deported and able to return via the same route as before, making criminal activity rather profitable if you’re not a citizen of the country in which you committed the crime.
Government is too concerned with giving away to worry about that. The big deal with immigration is also a fine line between actually helping and inviting anarchy. I have little trust that the government, as it exists at the present time, can tell the difference since it seems to be most concerned with amassing power. Just because I’m letting go some of my cynicism doesn’t mean I plan on being an “easy mark” for every bleeding heart cause somebody dreams up. Conversely, too much cynicism and distrust leads to an inability to find solutions, one way or the other.
I believe there’s an answer in compromise; helping people without “giving away the store” at the same time. Perhaps if there were stricter punishments put on the lawbreakers who commit the heinous crimes no matter how hard the country of origin protests. Perhaps if we put more pressure on the originating countries to make their own laws more equitable to their citizens. There are any number of ways this issue can be solved but it’s going to take a lot of work to bring it about in a way that is acceptable to everyone, or at least the majority. There is no pleasing everyone as some will not be happy without it being all their way.
Brush off some of the cynicism heavy on your own shoulders and perhaps we can find a way. Have more faith in the power of the people to find the way forward rather than government; that there is still good in the world and that it is up to us, again as individuals, to show it.
Someone, whose blog I read quite often has in his signature: “One man with courage can become a majority.” I believe that works as well for women. Faith will bolster courage far better than cynicism or distrust.