Last week, I sat down to pay some bills, and the bank was all, “Not right now, hit me up later,” or whatever. I haven’t gone back to pay them. They’re not due, and I’ll probably pay them today, or tomorrow, or maybe Tuesday…
Do you have any idea what a blessing it is to be able to pay your bills? Or to be able to pay them on time? Or to not even worry that after you pay them, you’ll be broke?
I’ve been broke plenty in my life. Most often after paying bills, but sometimes the bills were a joke, like, “Haha! Oh Hospital Bill, you’re so hysterical! Honey, Moo somehow survived after taking $35 worth of Motrin!”
There are plenty of people who struggle daily with things I don’t even think about. I like to think I think about those things more than other people think about those things, because I live in gratitude as a way of combating anxiety, and I have been without some of those things.
Money is relative. Everyone earns, saves, and spends differently, but I think we can all agree that any version of our ideal lives involves having what we need and then having a good time.
A good time is also relative, but a good time can be free or cost thousands of dollars. In fact, you can spend thousands of dollars and still have a shitty time.
I’m always telling my kids that lack of money is absolutely the best problem anyone can have. Money can’t create peace, undo betrayal, cure every illness, fix a broken relationship, mend a broken heart, or bring back the dead. You can throw money at any problem, but inevitably, money only fixes money problems.
When things go wrong, and they always do, it’s nice when they’re problems that can be solved with money.
Without money enough to buy solutions, life is desperate, and people despair accordingly. They get beaten down, worn-out, because the world says no, all the time.
No, they can’t buy a single stamp.
No, they can’t buy their kids an ice cream cone.
No, they can’t get a loan.
No, they can’t make payment arrangements at the dentist.
No, there are no second helpings.
No, there is no money for a field trip.
No, they can’t miss work when they’re sick.
No, they don’t have gloves or mittens.
No, they can’t take a job where the buses don’t run.
No, they don’t have the money for the medicine prescribed.
No, they can’t afford to run the heat.
No, they can’t afford a uniform.
No, they can’t pay a traffic ticket.
No, they don’t have a computer at home.
No, they don’t have any canned goods to donate…
Life isn’t fair in any aspect, but those problems SUCK in the land of plenty, and they do get in the way of having a good time.
So my job, as a human being who lives in abundance, is to give.
We give with kindness and compassion.
We will buy a book of stamps for the lady who only needs one and can’t afford twenty.
We will put gas in a stranger’s car.
We will never stand idly by in the check-out and watch as another human being tries to decide whether to put the juice or the paper towels back.
And I don’t mean we GoFundEveryFuckingThing. It doesn’t cost anything to hold a door, or to help push a car out of the road, to shovel a walk, or to unload someone’s groceries.
Oh we could do more, fersure.
My gramma usta say that you gotta give. What the person does with the money is between him and God, but when you give, you’re right with God.
But there are some people schemin, and I don’t trust those people hangin out with their signs in suburban shopping centers…
If my gramma was right, I hope God understands.
We were given so much when we needed help. So much. Over the years, people have sheltered us, babysat for us, fed us, paid a bill for us, helped find us jobs, helped us sell things, bought groceries for us, gave us useful things, like someone sold us a minivan for $50 — and I don’t just mean family and friends; one time, we received five-hundred anonymous dollars. Besides, I’ll never know who put the fresh loaves of bread or bags of apples in the WIC office…
I’ve long delayed writing a post on giving, for fear it would seem like bragging, so I won’t go into specifics, except to say that if you look for ways to help people, you will find it’s quite easy.
It’s even easier with strangers, because it’s indiscriminate. Sometimes humans don’t want to help others because we feel people aren’t deserving. We know what they do with their money, don’t we? But with strangers, you can give easily, because you don’t know what assholes they really are, or any of those judgmental things that keep us from helping people when we should. Even better, giving to strangers allows the advantage of avoiding that awkward tension that ekes its way in when you give to someone you know and they feel like they need to pay you back. No strings attached giving is JOYOUS.
Can you imagine your life if no one thought you ever deserved help? Can you imagine your life without any acts of kindness?
Grace is real. It cannot be bought, it can only be given.
Has being the recipient of charity ever changed your life? Do you practice Random Acts of Kindness or Pay It Forward? Do you know where your local food bank is?