Monday, March 7, 2011

The Good Life

I have a good life; we have a roof over our head, plenty of food to eat, clean appropriate clothes, a car, and luxuries. I don't always remember how good we have it, but on Saturday I was reminded of it in a big way. Saturdays are dance class day; for an obscene amount of money, SarahAnne spends a half an hour learning ballet each week with her cousin and three other little girls. She loves the class, so it's worth the time and money spent on it. HOWEVER this week, I was all keyed up because my sister was coming to visit and we had things to do. Of course, the gas tank was near empty so I HAD to go to the gas station. (what a hardship, I know) On my way to the gas station in my warm, completely paid off car I saw a woman on the median of the road holding a sign that said "I have 2 children. I am doing my best for them, can you help?" Now mind you, here I am feeling pissed because I have THINGS TO DO and I have to be interrupted by DANCE CLASS and the gas station.

It's snowing like a bitch, it's windy, it's COLD. It's too cold to be standing in the median of a road asking someone to help you, especially with tears coming down your face. All of the sudden it hit me like a ton of bricks. I had a bad attitude that day, I was whining because I can afford to do these things? What in the hell is wrong with me? What kind of example am I setting for my children? Reality-1 Chrissi-0

It's no secret that we've recently come out of a rough patch-but that's all it was-a rough patch; we had friends and family who helped us out and we came through to the other side a little wiser, a little more cautious, but apparently not as thankful as we should have been.

My heart was breaking for this woman; (cynics are going to be thinking at this point, she's a bum, she's probably a druggie or a drunk-but you know what? I don't feel that way, I don't think people would lie about things like that and if they do, I'm only out what? a buck? the change at the bottom of my purse?) She's clearly cold, she's clearly hurting.

I pulled into the gas station and got my gas, feeling like a jerk. Only two minutes earlier I was grumbling and here's this woman struggling so so badly for the basics. I got a huge cup of hot chocolate and wrote down some phone numbers of some places that could help her and stopped to give them to her. She broke down and I broke down. SarahAnne watched from the back seat as I cried-my tears were of empathy-I'm a momma too, my tears were of SHAME that I have it so good and take it for granted-and my tears were of sadness that someone actually had to stand with a sign to try and support their family.

I watched as this woman put down her sign and opened her hot chocolate and took a deep breath over it, savoring it's heat and the delicious smell, I'm sure. After her first drink I could tell it helped. A little bit of kindness goes a long way-what did it cost me? A whopping $1.38.

As we drove away, Bits asked "why are you crying Momma? Why was that lady standing there? It's cold out" I didn't know how to answer her or what to say, so I simply said "Bitsy, kindness is free. Being nice to people doesn't hurt you at ALL and I hope you will remember that." She sagely nodded her head and said "okay momma" and we drove the rest of the way to dance class in silence thinking about what we'd just seen. I was thinking about how good I've got it and how I really needed that reality check at that point and how I really really hope somehow that the momma on the median gets the help she needs to take care of her family and herself.

I hope after reading this you'll think about how good YOU have it. Sure life isn't perfect and sometimes it seems like there's never enough to go around, but if you take a hard look at your life, I'd bet you DO have enough and you DO have a good life and hope you'll savor it.

1 comment:

Erica said...

This is one of those things I have to admit I think about a lot. We've been through a rough patch lately (wish I could say we were on the other side!) but as you've said, it's a patch. My mama and my Dad always have my back and I never go without food or shelter or the few little luxuries I have.

Now I'm a cynic and I'm inclined to think "druggie, drunk" whatever when I see someone on the side of the road (because I have several in my family and I know that they DO lie when they're desperate), but I'm still inclined to give them money. I don't know why, it's a disconnect in my thinking but it's not something I'm ashamed of.

Anyway, good post Mama!


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