December 16, 2008

12.16.2008

Writing prompt: "A Season of Giving."

I work with a bunch of rabid Republicans. I wish I was kidding about that, but I really do...and as much as I hate to admit it, other than that major character flaw (in my eyes, that is), they really are a great group of guys who believe in what they work on. That said, very few of them know that I am what they would refer to as a bleeding heart liberal. But see, here's the catch: I've worked in jobs and lived my life in such a way that I have walked the walk of my vote. I didn't vote for Obama because he is a Democrat or because it was fashionable...I voted for him because this country desperately needs to make some changes and if we've seen anything the last eight years, it is that the GOP are very resistant to change.

I worked for a while in a sketchy school that taught mostly unemployed and partially homeless students how to use computers. We taught them how to type, how to use Micro$oft 0ffice, and even more, we taught them how to speak and dress for interviews. It was always a huge rush to have a student come back, dressed decently, telling you that they had gotten a job!

After that I worked in a homeless shelter that housed quite a few recovering meth and drug addicts. Meth is a horrible drug and if there were one drug I wish I could erase off the face of the earth with the swoop of my hand, that would be it. To see how it ripped apart families, and to watch them going through all the steps to not only stay clean but to work to get their families back together in some kind of cohesive manner was an inspiration to me. There I was feeling sorry for myself that my husband was away in Iraq...and these women were fighting a daily battle with themselves just to keep their lives together.

At church, John and I routinely write checks for extra Thanksgiving meals at the local downtown shelter or a toy drive for Toys for Tots. We don't do it to crow about it, we do it because we can...and because we should. We all should. It isn't being a socialistic society to take care of your brother. We are all our bother's keepers...and quite frankly, some of us have been doing a pretty poor job. I don't want to take away all your expensive toys and give them to the poor. I don't want to take all your tax dollars and give them to someone who hasn't held a job in years. I just want you to go and do something good this holiday.

Go to the mall and find a giving tree and go buy presents for a kid. Buy presents for a few kids. Hell, buy presents for a whole family if you can! If Toys for Tots is holding a toy or bike drive, please consider donating, especially this year. Go to your local shelter and ask them what they need the most. Sometimes it is simple home set-up gear like cheap dishes, glassware, pots and pans, etc. Sometimes it will be clothing or toys for the kids in the programs. Sometimes they'll be honest with you and tell you that they just need money, and that's OK too. Many programs assist the elderly with utility or rent payments to keep them housed and warm. They are able to do that based on small grants and donations. Your few dollars could mean the difference in someone being in the dark and cold for the holidays, or having lights and heat.

As you sit at your computer (or however it is you are reading this), realize that just by being able to do that, you are luckier than quite a bit of the population. Can't you give up a few lattes for someone else? If you can't afford that, consider donating your time, as it will cost you next to nothing, especially with gas prices so low now!

It is the season of giving...and we all need to give just a little bit more.

Posted by rowEn at 04:51 PM