I've opened a new blog entry window 5 times this morning, and I've closed it 4 times. I want to write about something, and yet. . .
Sometimes I write about things because I want to share them with you. Sometimes I write to make a point, because I think that something should be talked about, and because I want to talk about it in a particular way, and sometimes I write to explore what it is to be me. Very occasionally, I write to get something off my chest. To, in one way or another, hold something up to the light.
About a year ago, someone approached me and asked for help finding a new place to live. It was a complicated situation, but on the face of it, someone and their daughter needed help, and it was within my power to help.
And if there is an absolute commandment that I live by, it is this: It is a sin, a grave sin, to refuse help when it is within your power to give it. And it’s not just me, it’s Mr. Spit too. This matters to us. Not that we give help, but that we give help even when it is hard.
So anyway, help was needed and we gave it. And then more help was needed and we gave that. And we gave it willingly. Invariably, when I talk about the help I give to others, someone asks me if I’ve ever been taken advantage of. And the answer is “of course”. Mr. Spit and I have been, well, screwed, a few times. I’ve been screwed a few times more on my own. It happens.
And you can call me a fool. I don’t mind. It’s the kind of fool I’d like to be.
But, that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t sting when I get snowed. And I got snowed again.
And originally I had written a long post about how we got snowed and you would have gotten all the sordid details, but here’s the thing: if you asked me what I would do differently next time, I’m not sure I would have done anything differently. And even more truthfully, I’m not sure I want to subject my charitable leanings to the process of continuous improvement.
So, we got snowed. It sucks. I promised a former neighbour, who is now a landlord that someone was a good honest person and would pay the rent. And, I was wrong. And I feel badly, because he trusted someone on my word, and my word was bad. To top it off, I suspect I’m out about 3k, which hurts. And I’ve been lied to, and that really hurts. And the whole situation is an utter mess, and I can’t help anymore, which just bites. And, like I said, we’ve been snowed, and you know what? My pride is stinging.
But we obeyed our most important rule. I gave help when it was asked for. And maybe when the pride is finished stinging, that single fact will be enough. The older I get, the more I realize, it’s no good if I only hold on to my values when it’s easy, when things are fair, when I don’t have to sacrifice. Anyone can give help when you don’t have to go out of the way to do it. We went out of the way. And my maxim is still right.
It’s still a sin to not render aid, when you can.
I’ll do it again next time. I’ll probably get snowed again.
My kind of fool.