Tuesday, August 28, 2012

It's Not That Simple!

I have come to understand how messed up my personal philosophy of life has become.  This is how it happened.  I was driving down a road, on the way to pick my wife up at the grocery store, and as I turned on to the correct road, I saw a man with a sign asking for money.  I have been told, and believed all my life, that if they just got up in the morning and went out and got a job, they would not have to beg.  Worse, if I gave them money, they would just spend it on alcohol.  I decided that all this negative pull yourself up by the bootstraps stuff was crap, so I pulled over, and all I had was a $1 and a $20.  I pulled out the $1, knowing I needed the $20 to buy some french fries.  Then I realized how stupid that sounded in my head, so I pulled out the $20, and gave him that instead.

There, I did it.  I was a better person than all those other people who hated poor people.  I was an uber-christian.  I continued down the road, about 1/2 mile, pulled into the parking lot, and went and picked up my wife.  It was perhaps 8 minutes before 9:00pm when I gave him the $20, and it took me about 8 minutes to pick up my wife.  I drove across the parking lot, an into the driveway to wait my turn to get back on the road.  Directly across from me was the guy I just gave the money to, and he was sprinting down the side walk across the street from me.  I watched.  He sprinted right up to a package store (alcohol store) and went in.

Errr.  I just bought a poor guy alcohol, and wasted $20.  All he really needed to do was pull himself up by his boot straps, and get a freaking job.  What a waste.

It not really that simple, though, is it.  One thing I have discovered more and more in the recent months and years, is that I am no persons moral compass.  I have also discovered that the more you help people, the more they disappoint, and at times, hurt you.  It is part of the package.

I was going to list all the bible verses that prove this truth in life, and mention the ultimate example of Jesus and how he was treated for helping people, but instead, I want to share with you a poem by on of God's saints.  (Now, if you don't believe in God, then this is a poem from a real good women who just happens to believe in an invisible being and talks to a ghost.)

Mother Teresa's Anyway Poem

People are often unreasonable, illogical and self centered;
Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives;
Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies;
Succeed anyway.
If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you;
Be honest and frank anyway.
What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight;
Build anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous;
Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow;
Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough;
Give the world the best you've got anyway.
You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and your God;
It was never between you and them anyway.
Now, it really is that simple.  So I have decided to remind myself to do it anyway.  That poor guy is poor, and I helped him, and will again if given the opportunity.  I will, because it is not between me and him, or me and the government, or me and a court, or me and you.  It is between me and my God, and he has already rewarded me.

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