October 28, 2008
I chastised myself after almost giving money to a man from Mexico who couldn't speak English, and who was a stranger to me, this cold morning so he could pay a store cashier for both the cap and the candy bar he had chosen. He didn't have enough money and put the candy back on the shelf. I wasn't being hard on myself for not offering money; I was upset with myself for wanting to do so. I still haven't learned that I can't help every time I see a need--especially in this morning's situation. I'm so out of the loop that I even say little prayers on behalf of cars with flat tires or mechanical problems at the side of the road and their people--for heaven's sake!
I haven't learned how things work in this society of me-first and service-to-self, greed, and rampant materialism. There is an ad in today's Dallas Morning News for Dillard's Department Store. A glamorous blonde is holding about seven colorful, expensive purses. It's about a "trade-in event." You trade a used handbag in good condition for $50 off a purse selling for $200 or more, $40 off a purse selling for $126 to $199, $25 off a purse selling for $76 to $125, and $15 off a purse selling for $50 to $75. Good grief! Even a $50 purse (the lowest level) is out of reach of most women in the USA--if they are living within their means and not using a credit card.
Tears of frustration came as I drafted this blog in my car before coming into the library. I've learned that people like me who want every person to have their needs met are considered abnormal or mentally deficient by most people (including mental health professionals) in this society. Honestly, my own safety and survival needs are inadequately met (by my estimation), and I tell myself to focus more on my own needs and think before I start to give something away. However, instinctively, naturally, I move to assist--rarely catching myself in time.
Anyway, as I thought about what happened after paying for my newspaper and getting back in the car this morning, and, again, how ill-equipped I was and continue to be for a life in these times in this country, telling myself that I have to understand that I can't save everyone, the word "altruism" popped into my mind when there was a thought-break for the Divine to get a word in edgewise. I know what that word means, but decided to look it up first thing. Altruism is defined by www.merriamwebster.com as:
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