It’s funny how people don’t realize how much they have and how lucky they are. They see the things they do in their lives as typical, normal, everyday. I can remember a time when our family did many of those things that seems typical. I remember a time that if I wanted something I just went and got it. Then our lives changed and I see things so differently.
I’m not homeless but there have been nights when I’ve been hungry. We aren’t going without, but there are times when we really understand the meaning of struggling to make ends meet. I can literally see myself pulling and tugging on the ends of a string to try to get it to come full circle.
Then we landed in this place where we are currently. It is not a place I would have chosen. It’s not even a place we knew about. We are full-time RVers and this is a campground, but this area is mostly snow-birds, mostly retired people who come south for the winter. And make no mistake that most of these folks are not hurting in their finances.
There are a few here in this park who look down their noses at me because they know I have less, much less. They realize that we are on limited income and just getting by. There are times when I cannot even attend some of their very inexpensive events because if I do I might not be able to do laundry or some other vital bill. There are some here who go to Disney 6 or 8 times a season and our family has never been. We live less than an hour from Disney but we can’t afford to go once. There are people here who take mini trips to other states all season long, they travel two or three states away to visit family, go to amusement parks or see attractions, and our family has to save for months just to get where I want us to go, which is 4 hours up the highway.
A few days ago I was out shopping with a friend. As we left the Wal-Mart parking lot a lady arrived at the exit with a sign. Her sign said “Homeless, anything helps”. I asked my friend to pull over. It took her a minute to understand so we were a ways away when she did, but I got out and ran a dollar back to this woman in need. She nearly burst into tears over a dollar. I wish I could have done more, but as I told her we are all struggling and it was all I had at that time. It didn’t matter to her. That dollar was accepted and appreciated as if I’d just handed her $20.
I have a friend here in the park who knows I cannot afford to go out, so once a week she takes me to a Bingo game at a different park. To me it’s an expensive one, but it’s not that bad to her. She tells me that when she’s home she spends a lot more than that one Bingo. So every week she pays for our games and we split anything we win. It’s mostly to get me out to do something. It’s a kindness she can do and feel comfortable with.
In this country today we have a problem with homeless, hungry people. We have far too many people living either right on or way below the poverty line. There simply is not enough help out there to reach all these people and get them what they need. Every one of us is capable of reaching out and helping. From the person taking 8 Disney trips a year to someone like me who is just barely getting by. We are all able to do SOMETHING!
Stop looking down your nose and reach out a hand. Stop allowing these people to be invisible and reach out with your heart. Let down your blinders and be an angel on earth to someone who is struggling, homeless, hungry, or just in need.
It’s so easy to get in the habit of going out to eat and not thinking of that as something incredibly special. It’s so easy to buy a pair of sneakers and not think of that as something we are fortunate to be able to do. So many of our simple acts done without thought that we are incredibly fortunate to be able to do them. Not everyone can. Not every person can afford new shoes or a dinner out. Not every person can afford to have a running vehicle or go play bingo. Not every person can afford a computer or internet access. And it’s easy to say “Well that’s their own fault”, but most times the reasoning isn’t that simple.
Today think about it when you fill your car with gas, when you grab a sandwich at McDonald’s, when you put that extra goodie in with your groceries. How many things do you do each day that you take for granted, that others cannot even dream of doing? Then remember to be grateful for each thing you have and do.