You guys have all been having a lively discussion while I've been away! I'm never sure of the proper order of things. Do I visit y'all, then respond to your comments here? Skip a post, or post as usual, then visit y'all, then respond to your comments? But then I worry: you commented on my blog, shouldn't I do that first? But then I want to see what's up in your life. I like reading your posts.
So that was a bad apology for getting behind and I'm not sure whether to go to your blogs or respond to your comments next. If I do the wrong thing, I didn't mean to be impolite, LOL.
I'll do it all, of course, but I sometimes wonder if there's an etiquette to the order of it. In what order do you do it?
TOO MUCH COMPASSION: You know, I worry about other people. Like, when someone doesn't pay their bill, I start worrying. I start feeling sorry for them. I hate to send them late notices, because I know how it feels to be struggling with the economy.
But I realized today: I forgot to feel compassion for myself. Why do I always put myself last, until I wake up and realize that there is a LINE, and destroying myself in the process of feeling compassion for others is not good for the world at all.
I'm an only child, and I consider self-centeredness to be one of my greatest faults. It's kinda funny that my other greatest fault is worrying about other people.
So... I'm so not playing that game anymore.
NOT ENOUGH COMPASSION: I was downtown Cleveland today. YOU WOULD NOT BELIEVE WHAT I SAW!!!!
A sign saying: do not give beggars money. Several of them, actually.
Because it could be a panhandler instead of a homeless person. (Often no difference, btw.) Yes, I realize that giving food and shelter and clothes and blankets is better than giving money. But it's MY money.
And how can one charity put up signs telling me not to give to another???
Are you really telling me panhandlers have SUCH A GREAT LIFE that I shouldn't give them some compassion???
I used to give a panhandler money all the time. He was hilarious. He earned his money. He often spent it on alcohol. His choice. He got his calories, he got his life, and you know, you gave him food, too.
And, sorry, I will give beggars money if I want. The first time I gave a man money, I was a freshman in college. There was this man with a sorry story and his children, yada, yada, yada.
But any intelligent person would know that, in this case, the story was true. It was his first night begging, his first night homeless on the streets. (And I'm pretty certain his only night.) He had tears in his eyes when he asked for money, he could barely do it. I said I didn't have it. (I think I had 23.85 in my bank account. ***Update: Remember, this was COLLEGE. I was living in a dorm on a cafeteria plan. I was giving BEER money, that's it, LOL. No giving away of "last penny," didn't mean to suggest that.***)
There was something about him, though. I just knew.
So I went back to the ATM machine and got twenty dollars out and gave it to him. I was slightly afraid to get too close because I was a new girl to a big city, but today I would've hugged him. I wish I could go back and hug him. It hurt him WAY MORE to take my twenty dollars than it did for me to give my weekend play money.
He cried, right there on the street, the first time I'd ever seen a grown man cry. And he never came back, never saw him ever again.
I can't tell you how many times I've thought of him over the years. I've written a success story for him in my mind, of course. I believe it, too.
So how would you feel, looking at a sign telling you not to give to homeless people because some of them might be panhandlers, and that you should mail your donation to XYZ Charity instead?
Incidentally, the signs are sponsored by the businesses on the street. So really, they just don't want homeless people on their sidewalk. I'm surprised they didn't put the sign: DO NOT GIVE BEGGARS MONEY; BUY A PIZZA AT LUIGI'S PIZZA INSTEAD.