If you were around me, I wonder if I would seem different. I don't laugh 24 hours a day (it's only about 23 1/2- I reserve 30 minutes to watch Little House on the Prairie, and I never laugh through that). I don't tell bad jokes all day (75% are good to mediocre with potential). I don't dance my way around grocery stores (I go to Walmart Super-center and dance there, I fit in better). I am not always singing and dancing whilst driving in my car (occasionally a Ke$ha song comes on and I cock my head and look at the radio confused for a few moments before changing the station and resuming the Broadway show performance).
But one thing is true. I always want to be better. I always over analyze why I am depressed. Financially I feel like a bottom feeder and I feel alone. You pretty, pretty fish keep crapping on me while I am sucking the fungus off the gravel to survive. I never thought I'd be here-but here I am!
As a credit counselor for 21 years I learned how to keep and pull people out of financial rubble. I felt so accomplished when I gave a family a "Game Plan" to increase their credit score and they succeeded and were able to fulfill some of their dreams. But here I am with medical collections and a house in foreclosure with no place to go. Banks won't hire a Loan Officer with bad credit, even though I feel it will make me a better one!! I honestly don't know what I am going to do. I am looking for every option. That's a lot of pressure. But I realized one thing I changed in my daily life that I shouldn't have.
I always was a person that helped. I have never been rich, but I always gave to charities and causes by volunteering, organizing fund raisers etc. Even in credit counseling I felt I was giving. My dad taught me to always look outside of yourself. No matter what was going on, no matter how late we were or how angry it made me (as a punk teenager) he would never pass by the homeless without turning around and getting a bag of burgers and cold cokes. As I questioned why, and prodded him about how would he knew that they are not drug dealers or alcoholics or taking advantage of people, he would smile and say:
"But what if they're not?"
and continue with:
"Tonight I will go to sleep knowing I helped somebody that may not have needed it, but KNOWING I did not pass by someone who really did".
Finances are like a beautifully tiered apple display. We can always take from the top of the apple pile when little things happen (tire blow out, something breaks, etc) and we need some extra funds, but when something more severe happens (lapse in job, unpaid sick days, etc) you can only take from the middle so many times. If you take from that bottom tier (total loss of income, illness, death, tragedy, etc), those apples will all tumble down to the produce floor, and you are left trying to stack them up again.
Don't take that for granted.
A lot of people have strong support lines and are still OK, the ones who don't, crumble, and sometimes we judge them.
I have felt I am at the very bottom, and have stopped giving because I thought I could not afford it, that very spark I got FOR helping got blown out and replaced with the worry for only my situation.
But then I remembered:
There is ALWAYS someone worse off than me!
I can not afford NOT to give.
To someone who is drowning, one bubble of air is a lifesaver. If I have a few bubbles to spare, I have an obligation to do that. The person worse off than me is STILL better off than someone else too, they, in turn should give what little they have. And it goes on and on. We have forgotten that the size of the gift does not matter in the least. Who is to say that Oprah is a better person because she has more to give? If I give what I can, than I am just as much of a hero, even though I am not in the spotlight.
This will be my ultimate "Sparkly Social Pyramid Experiment". Compassion and support given from the top, trickling down to the bottom, benefiting everyone. We should go on in life knowing that no matter how "down and out" we feel we are, someone below is looking at what we have and classifying it as a blessing. I will look down from now on to make sure someone is catching some of my blessings and praying they are doing the same for those below them.
Today I stopped by McDonalds, and with the last 5$ in change bought plain burgers and went to the underside of a bridge where I see the same 5 people huddled every day.
They become part of our landscape, would you notice if they were gone?
I handed a gentleman the bag with a smile. He thanked me and complimented my sparkles (that made me laugh). I asked If I could sit for a few moments (the kids were at school). They welcomed me in and we talked about the weather. I never asked how they got there, they never asked why I had come. I thought that was curious. It was just small talk and me taking the time to look into the eyes of people I normally would avoid, because by avoiding eye contact, I could feel better about NOT helping. I took time to pet their dog and nervously gathered my self to ask one question.
"What, if anything, has been positive about being on the streets?"
Some "Nothings" rose up before the oldest looking man, wearing plaid and stripes said:
"I understand people more now, some are shells of what they portray, some are invisible, but most are just trying to see tomorrow like me."
WOW! So simple, but WOW!
And then I left.
If I do nothing else positive in life, I wish this message would get out. Please help me do that by posting in my words (or yours) a little blurb about this "Sparkly Social Pyramid Experiment"(or whatever you want to name it). Ask you readers to repost it as well, if it gets posted and reposted, who knows how far it would go!!
It is day one for me... I already feel better!! Is that selfish???
Comedy and hilarity returns here soon....stay tuned...