Day 59 Actions:
I don’t know about you, but I hardly have cash on me anymore. From credit cards to Venmo- there’s not much call to do so these days. Even parking meters have an app.
The only times this presents a problem, for me, is when: my son wants something out of the toy, vending machine at our local diner; when my husband runs low and needs to tip someone*; and when I’m asked for Kindness by a stranger living rough and/or down on their luck.
There may be many arguments against giving to those less fortunate than ourselves; what if they’re lying and have a home and should get a job but they’re lazy and refuse to; they won’t use my $2 for anything good; they are probably addicted to something; I don’t want to encourage someone to take handouts when they should be working for their money… and on and on. But the simple truth is- you don’t know them.
You don’t know their story. You don’t know how many years they tried to pull it together but never had the love and support from family, friends and community to make it happen. You don’t know how they served our country in ways you’ve never even had to imagine and now find themselves so much worse for the wear. You don’t know how in their own country they were respected and educated and lived a life very similar to yours, or -lived an unimaginable nightmare and took every risk to themselves and their family just to escape, but here… there has been no American Dream for them. Maybe that person does have a home and a bed and the wherewithal to find and hold a steady job, but the simple truth is, you don’t know.
My very prim, Pennsylvania Dutch Grandmother, God Bless her Golden Girls adoring soul, used to say to me- “If you put all the world’s problems into a bag, you’d be damn lucky to pull your own out again.”
It’s easy to pass scorn and judgement on others. It’s easy to presume that just because you’ve been lucky enough to never have faced their trials and tribulations- that in their shoes- had you faced them, you would have triumphed.
But living your life, as opposed to theirs, does not make you better than those who have set their dignity aside in the name of family and survival- it just makes you luckier.
So carry a couple of singles (or more) now and again. And when you see someone down on their luck, help them out. Or ask if you can buy them a refreshing drink or a sandwich as you walk into the grocers and they make yet another plea for someone’s lucky ears to turn in their favor.
Just a little help. Every once in a while.
Remember, when you see a gorgeous sunset; some see a beautiful night approaching, others only see a cold one.
*My husband is from New York and real New Yorkers carry cash. There just seems to be more pay for play situations there. I actually think it’s a city-wide mandate. If you’re ever caught without, you lose your right to yell at moving vehicles while you cross against traffic and you’re forced to forever order deep-dish. Many people don’t know this, but that’s the real origin of an NYC mugging – a simple, civil-service, cash-on-hand check, true story.