© Copyright 2021 by Edie Jones
Photo by Ethan Richardson on Unsplash
As I turn the corner onto the street that takes me to my favorite gas station, I try to keep from looking at the homeless folk sitting among squaller and non-operative vehicles. I ask myself, ďWhat has brought them to this situation? How could anyone allow their lives to deteriorate to such a point?Ē I know I would never let that happen to me and my family! I recognize that my belief centers on the idea that somehow, they just didnít try hard enough! The feelings I have are closer to repulsive instead of being sympathetic. Oh, I am being so judgmental! Thatís terrible! I am better than that!
Dear God, help me to be realistic and to know my thoughts are probably far from the truth! Iím sure every one of these folks has a story that I canít even begin to imagine. Help me to open my eyes to what I can do, ways I can help.
I already donate to the food bank and take things I no longer want to the thrift stores. I know many have been helping at aid stations especially during the extreme heat wave that hit us last week. That doesnít seem very practical since I am older and easily affected by the heat. I could easily be more of a burden than a help. Are there other things I can do? I wish I knew.
The next morning, I wake from a dream of being with a homeless family, walking with them after a fire that took their house and everything they owned. I cradle their child in my arms as they search for whatever can be rescued. My heart breaks as I watch.
The realization that comes when Iím fully awake is that I really would like to do more to help those less fortunate than me. But how? Give more to the church, charities, all the requests I get in the mail? That I can do to a certain extent, although I must be careful. My husband, Ted, left me with a good reserve, wanting me to be comfortable with no financial worries after he was gone. And thereís the kids who want me to enjoy new adventures as I get older. Comfortable! New adventures! What about all those people who have nothing?
Iíve a big house and thereís only me and my dog. Should I invite a family I donít know to share it with me? Oh, how risky. What would I be getting myself into? Oh, dear. Fear keeps me from acting.
And then I am confronted with my schedule for the day. I almost forgot. Iím expected out at Suttle Lake Camp for the closing of their Creation Vacation family camp before noon. I was there earlier in the week as a volunteer to meet with folks who might be having difficulty with a parenting issue. I had some great conversations with a few and hoped my suggestions had helped. These were all Habitat families which meant that at some point in their lives having a secure home location had been difficult. The thought dawns on me that the stories of several of them may not be too far from those of the people I passed on the street.
It dawns on me; I have been doing something to help. Iíve been using my professional training to share knowledge with those who might need it. But has it been enough? Then I think about one more thing I can do. Iíve just published a beautiful book, written about my Golden Doodle puppy, Walker. Itís all in rhyme, incorporates amazing paintings created by my friend Jeni, and includes parenting tips. Should I give one to each family?
Oh, dear. My heart starts to question. Would they value it? Would they treat it with the reverence that I do? Why am I being so judgmental? I know I will be losing $125 of much needed revenue if I give that many away. Oh, no. Not another donation. Iíll never make back the money Iíve spent in getting it published. Well, I donít know. Iíll just stick them in my car so I can think about it as I drive.
Arriving, I find all the families
engaged in a craft
designed around the idea of sharing. They had listened to a story
about a beautiful fish with many shiny scales that
the more he gave away the happier he was. He gave and gave his
scales away until he had only one scale left. Smiling he realized how
happy he was.
I hurry back to my car and gather my books. Returning to the group of families I ask the director if I can make an announcement. I talk about my wonderful dog, and all I have learned from him, show my book and tell them I would like to give a copy to each family that would like one. Individually parents appear at my side letting me know who to inscribe the book to as I sign my name. Each looked through the book amazed at the beautiful paintings. I read a few lines of a poem to one of the kids who wondered about the picture that only showed Walkerís eye. Here the words read that Walker was a thief, stealing all that he could and that ďhis eyes never missed what fell to the floor, hats on the sofa or shoes by the door.Ē The lessen enclosed in the poem is that unconditional love will be there even when Walker misbehaves.
As I drive away, my heart feels lighter. Indeed, you are happier when you share! These families, who probably donít have many beautiful books now have at least one. Mine! And through it they may also learn the many lessons I learned from Walker.
A smile spreads across
my face as I drive home wondering what else I can do and recognize
that I have just learned an important lesson from these families.
Their joy in having a family vacation, close to home and sharing
their lives with others is something I will keep in my heart and
I am Edie Jones, a
retired Parent Educator who loves to write. My self-published
books Raising Kids With Love, Honor and
for success and Walkerís Wisdom, His Journey
from Puppy to Big Dog have been well received locally, however
have not been especially lucrative. I also write
occasionally for our local weekly paper The Nugget News and a
local parenting magazine called The Bend Nest. I
believe that I have ever earned $500 in anyone year from my