Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Filling a Need

I hate money. Hate it.

I hate the thousand dollars that was just in my checking account before I paid my rent & bills for January, and I hate the $3.97 that is in my checking account from now until next Friday when I get paid again.

I hate feeling helpless in the face of mounting bills and after-school care and daycare tuitions and ever-increasing grocery bills. I hate that I've had to accept charitable donations from a variety of institutions over the past year or two just in order to make ends meet. It leaves a metallic taste in the back of my mouth from biting the inside of my cheek to keep back the protest that I don't need help, that surely there is someone more deserving of aid than our little family. 
And yet, I couldn't be more grateful than I am right now.
I am so incredibly blessed and lucky to have people in my life that recognize both my level of need and my level of inherent stubbornness and determination to prove myself, and people who have found a way to overcome both. I've learned that accepting charity, when necessary, is best done with a quiet smile and a sincere thank you. Any more effusive and you embarrass both yourself and the giver. Too many protestations and, again, you embarrass both yourself and the giver.

It does make me wonder, though, if history's greatest philanthropists were, at one point in their lives, scratch-in-the-dirt poor. I like to think of the Rockefellers and the Carnegies of the world as stubborn independent people just trying to make ends meet in their early years; determined that, when they made it big they'd pay everyone back ten-fold.
It's what I intend at least. Everytime I accept a hand up, it's with a silent promise to myself that one day I will ensure that I will be in such a position to pay each and every accepted kindness forward with interest. That when I have passed the point in my life where I am unable to stand on my own, the strength of each of those helping hands and the foundation they helped to build will granted me the wisdom to see need in others and fill it, even if they are at first too stubborn to see that need for themselves.

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