I’d rather be riting

Finals are the tool of Satan. I’m in the eye of the hurricane now; two down and two to go. Now I’ve found an opportunity to blog. Huzzah.

Recently I’ve been thinking about an incident a couple of years ago. My mother works at an agency that helps single parents, poor families, and so on. Through this work she knew of a family that was very poor. The husband had had two jobs, but lost one of them, and had the hours cut in the other one. The wife had no job. They had two or three kids; I can’t recall.

The particularly heart-wrenching detail is this: the wife’s mother gave her Christmas presents for all the kids. . . and she had to take the presents to Wal-Mart and return them so she could pay the bills and buy food.

So my mother asked our family if we would be willing to give up a portion of our gifts to purchase some for this family’s kids. It was the easiest thing I could be asked: to give up a tiny portion of what I have so they could have something at all. I just think of the children laughing, the smile on the husband’s face, the tears in the mother’s eyes… and I imagine those features on the face of Jesus.

It makes me wonder why there are any poor people, when it makes me feel so terrible to know about them, and so good to give to them. It also annoys me. . . why should I be taken care of when they aren’t? Why should I be provided for when they aren’t? Why should I have gifts for Christmas when they don’t?

Needless to say, I’m going to be taking care of some poor people this year. If everyone who was giving gifts to me instead gave them or the money to a poor family, I’d be perfectly happy. In fact, I’d probably be happier. It’s the unanimous conclusion of every personal “giving” story I’ve heard that giving is a paradox. When a woman gave her nice, expensive leather coat to another woman who had none, she never felt warmer in her life. When you give of yourself, you gain. Die to yourself, and you live. This is a basic tenet of Catholic Christianity.

God gave me everything I have, and He doesn’t give you things for you to bury or keep to yourself. Giving some away is the least I can do. I have everything I need, anyway. I have Him.

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