Throughout my life I have been the eternal optimist. I believe that down the road of life a little further, good things will come my way. I am cognizant that on my journey, I will hit unwanted toll booths, breakdowns, and flats, but I always focus on the journey ahead.
Some years ago while visiting a church friend, he asked me how many miles I had on my car? I answered over 200,000 miles. He was aghast. I remember as I was departing he said to me, “If I had that many miles on my car, I’d be too scared to go anywhere beyond the county line.” I laughed and drove away. As I recounted that conversation, I felt sorry for him. If I had lived with that kind of fear, I would have missed out on a vacations to Florida, missed visiting New England, nor gone beyond the borders of my neighborhood.
Some might call it ignorance, others may say it’s blind faith. For me, I call it life. My friend often bemoaned that he couldn’t go anywhere. He thought I had a lot of money, I did not. What I had was no fear, an abundance of optimism, a sense of thriftiness and good choices.
Countless times in my life, I have helped individuals to the detriment of my own wallet. The reason I do so is because I feel blessed, I want individuals to have what I have. I want them to have a sense of adventure and a boatload of peace. Sadly often times my attempt at “blessing” them in reality hurts them.
Recently for the second time in four months a transient called me in the early morning hours and rattled off the same story he did before. Despite my assistance in January, his circumstances and story never changed. I made several phone calls to agencies who had served him, yet each time, his story didn’t add up. As I declined to assist him this time, he got angry. Sadly, that’s the response I’m getting more accustomed too.
I can’t explain why I’m often asked for money from strangers and acquaintances. Maybe it’s because I need to lose weight this year. I have a bowl full of jelly for a body, so I must be Santa.
I’m not immune to the sufferings of individuals, I listen to their hard luck stories with rapt attention. But sometimes I can’t help but think, we need to have some honest dialogue with those who seek our resources. Can we at least point them in the direction of some of their own life choices?
I recall the story of a woman who never addressed her own sad choices in life and it drove her boyfriend crazy; it was always someone else’s fault. Expecting a nice birthday gift from him, she was stunned to find that all she got after unwrapping her gift was a box of chalk. Furious, she asked why he had gotten her such a stupid gift. To which he answered, “You play the victim so well, I thought it was a perfect choice.” No word on if the relationship succeeded, but I applaud his bravado. If you’re short of chalk for someone like this in your life, ask me, I’m heading to Walmart right now, I’m buying a big box.