Yesterday I spent a few hours standing outside a natural grocery store collecting items for one of the local food pantries, called Just Food. I did this about a month ago as well, at a large chain grocery store. I remember thinking how awesome it would be if we could collect food at the natural grocer, and how generous people would be, right? You can guess where this is going. For two hours I had to fake a smile to some of the rudest, most arrogant people in this town, which is quite unfortunate.
I do hate to generalize, but I will anyway. Shopping at the natural grocer is quite expensive. I get that you can’t judge a person by what they have, what they wear or what they drive, because it is quite possible that none of those things are paid for, and that their debt has overgrown their lives like moss. But…I still find it curious that the individuals with (to the eye) have the most money, are less willing to help than those with (seemingly) less money.
I get it though. At this point in my life, I’m probably just above the poverty line. I’m not complaining, I have everything I need and quite enjoy my life, but there have been times when my savings account started to increase, and that, is when I found it harder to give. The less I have, the less concerned I am with maintaining my bank account, and the more willing I am to give what I have.
I was given a barrel to collect items in at the grocer yesterday. It was not clearly marked and looked very much like a trash can. One man, not paying any attention to me, walked by and threw his soda in the barrel. I wasn’t mean about it, but I did let him know the barrel was not a trashcan. I picked up the soda and threw it away. A little while later, he came out of the store with a jar of peanut butter and commented that he “could” put that in there. Old people gave, children gave, but it’s always the people I judge, that surprise me the most, and give.
This morning I got the most wonderful email regarding the craigslist ad I had posted a couple weeks ago (see previous blog):
“Wondering how your project is going? I don’t need help, but am interested in what you’re doing. I’m originally from Kansas and am moving back there this summer. I’m young and in pretty good shape, own a truck, and I’m self employed so I have nothing but time on my hands – I don’t know what your situation is or who you even are, but if you’re still doing this when I get there I’m more than willing to join up with anything that might seem easier with a second person”.
I’m not going to lie, it would be way easier to give this up and just give when something crosses my path, and as I’ve said before, I am so sick of giving. I am so embarrassed to even write that. What kind of person gets “sick of giving”? Apparently I am whatever kind of person that kind of person is, but that email gave me a little boost and I appreciated it.
I don’t write about every situation as it would be extremely boring and time consuming, but I do want to share examples of giving, as this is a daily intention. I feel guilty that I even “count” some of these, but maybe giving doesn’t have to be as hard as I am making it? So this week I: wrote a couple letters, shared some cheese, cooked dinner and extended an open invitation for anyone to join (though no one did), shared a fan, took a grocery cart in for the cutest little old lady, complimented others and offered my empty egg cartons to a person I don’t like who is getting chickens. Did I really have to throw in the I don’t like part? If the intent is to give what I have, then I only have to give what I have, even if it is “just” a compliment.
This week I: wasn’t so good about practicing patience on the road, there were too many unqualified to be on the road, drivers.
Lesson: I am whatever kind of person that kind of person is.