It’s a conundrum…

My mom is amazing.

She was 16 when her mom died in 1945.  She’d been living in Spur, going to school and working at Bell’s Cafe.  But after her mom’s death, she had to quit school &  move back home to the farm to take care of 2 younger brothers, ages 11 and 3, and my granddad.  For the record my mom would tell you she’d wanted to finish school more than anything.

Later that same year, in October she married my dad.  She was 17 by then.  and at 18 & 19 she had Cathy & Jo.  And she’d had a still birth in 1956 & I showed up in 1957.

I know sometimes she probably didn’t think so sometimes but she was the best mom ever.  Times didn’t get really easy for mom & dad til they were older.  They never had a whole lot but my mom sure could make the most of what they had. And they always shared what they had.   When my granddad fell into a bottle after losing his wife, mom had to still take care of little brothers.  And young cowboys would wander through.  My uncle needed a guardian for his son when he was in the Army and mom was the guardian.  I remember daddy had a friend who married a woman with 4 daughters and the cowboy camp where the lived would not allow them to go to school so they all had to be homeschooled.  The 2 oldest daughters lived with us for a while so they could go to high school.  And when my sister Jo died, and before really, her son lived with us and my parents raised their grandson.  Basically, my mom NEVER turned anyone away.  Not only were there a lot of strays over the year, but I can also tell you my mom always figured out a way to make a meal enough if another person or 2 showed up.  I can promise you no one ever left my mother’s table hungry.

There is a Facebook group where people ask for things….furniture, clothing, toys, rides…and it’s a place where people give, not sell.   I’ve never taken anything but I’ve given a few times.  It’s harder now that I’m not working…I don’t always have much to give anymore.  Saying I can barely support me is not exactly true. I’m ok, but I don’t have the extra I used to have.

There is a woman on the site who this week said she was looking for someone to hang out with.  She’s stays with someone, is unemployed, has no car. Says she has no family.    She doesn’t have a car.  She says she’s a cancer survivor. She says she just stays at home all the time with nothing to do.  All the things to pull at heart strings. So I told her I was working at the food bank on the 23 & asked if she wanted to go.  After being assured I normally just pack boxes or unpack crates, she thought that would be fun.  But after that I’d need to drop her off at a doctor’s appointment at UMC.   Not “if it was convenient” or “if I had time”.    It was just expected.  And I don’t mind doing it but I do like to be asked.

I read back through her post and it’s an interesting picture.  She lives with someone that she had a fight with so though she was about to be homeless.  That was yesterday.  Today she asked for food but then her post was deleted.  That normally only happens if you get banned.  She talked about wanting a job but could only work 11-7 Friday-Sunday and needed a ride to and from.   She mentioned a son.   I don’t know what to think.

Being my mom’s daughter, I try really hard to show compassion. Like mom, I’m a giver.  I know that even though I don’t have much, I have enough.  But it’s a different era.  I’m sorry she’s going to be homeless but I can’t have a stranger living in my home.   And I don’t have money to buy groceries for 2 households.  It’s been a really long time since I’ve been hungry although there were some early days a box of mac and cheese lasted 3 or 4 meals before payday.  Today, she asked for white bread, ham and “something sweet”.  Not much really but….I don’t know.

I’ll admit that I’m less of a giver than I used to be.  I stupidly loaned a dear friend some money and it took her 3x as long as promised to pay it back.  And after I finally pressured her, she paid back but has not talked to me since.  She was someone I never, ever thought would do something like to me and frankly, it burned me to the ground.  Now I’ll buy lunch for a friend but there will never ever be another loan to another person.

So I have confusion about this Facebook person.  She sounds like a person who will strip you clean if given the opportunity.  But then I think of my mom who never turned anyone away.  And I think of this:

Matthew 25:31-40

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

But here I am trying to justify.  It’s a different world.  People like and cheat and steal and use people for whatever they can get out of them.   Kindness surprises me.  I expect someone to drop the door in my face or hit my car with their car door and not even care.   It’s a world so opposite of the way I was raised and I don’t understand it anymore.

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