I am blessed in that I have friends who challenge me. They have a tendency to say something off the wall that flings my mind into overdrive and I delve deep into whatever thoughts arise.
One such friend, who lives in America, is a master in posing metaphysical or ethical questions – before my first cup of coffee in the morning! The question will await me on Messenger or Face Book and MAN that is challenging at 4.30am! And I love it. When something grabs my attention I wholly commit to seeking my answers; which usually flow with ease and a confident Knowing of my Truth at this particular point in linear time. It’s as if I had been working on the question for months. In the case of this friend, I delve into my beliefs and my current knowledge and learn where I stand on a whole variety of somewhat tricky topics, and I grow in my knowledge of Self and the Truths that change as I move through this linear world.
Another friend threw me a real curve-ball the other day. It was an unusual question, in some ways relevant to the conversation, but totally unexpected and I was rather surprised that my normal Knowing didn’t jump up and provide the answer. I know I said I would rather not, and that answer was accepted, but I have since spent many hours turning over the question – and my response. The question was “Would I accept charity?”
Normally that would be an easy question. No, I wouldn’t. I have an intense need to be self-sufficient. I come from a working class family where there has always been a sense of pride in the presentation of a certain level of living. For example, as a child I was always well dressed, but few probably knew that my mum would stay up all night sewing these clothes, re-purposing from old cast-offs. As an adult I’ve lived times of plenty when money was not a big issue and I have lived times where funds are extremely limited. During each of those harder times, I have followed my mother’s lead and not allowed people to see the difficulties.
One of these difficult times has stretched back for the last 10 years. The bank made an error in a business loan that they wouldn’t fix. We fought this for years through every avenue we could all the time getting into more and more debt.. We knew that if we dropped the ball in appearing ‘comfortable’ the vultures would descend upon us really quickly. Finally we handed the whole lot back to the bank and then had to survive a whole 12 month period with zero income. We sold everything we owned in order to pay the rent and keep a roof over our heads. And I had to learn to accept charity.
I discovered I am a proud woman. I also discovered that if I refused assistance, I was refusing to let people help me in a similar manner to which I have helped others. It shocked me that I was so willing to offer help but too proud to accept. It was another lesson from Ego. I would like to be able to say that this lesson has been learned and I could accept that which is given, with love and humility, but I can’t. During that 12 months, recovering from injury and with no income, I had to learn to let go of that pride, that strong drive for self-sufficiency because at that time there was no other option. I needed to learn that it takes strength to admit that help is needed – and even more than admitting, it takes strength to accept help with dignity – especially from people who do not expect a return. Each time, it broke my heart.
Things are still not good, but they are an awful lot better than they were. I’m holding my own. Not attempting to keep up appearances, but also not willing to let them slip too much.
Now, perhaps, you can see why that question, “Would I accept charity” caused me to dig deep within Self. Right now, the answer is no, I won’t. But last year – I had no choice. It was accept or live on the streets. Is it pride that drives me to say no, even now? I honestly don’t know. But what I do know is that I have two arms, two legs and a half-way reasonable brain and I’d much rather earn my daily bread.
And that first friend, the one who asks the tricky questions early in the morning – it was she who taught me that I give and I give and I give. Isn’t it time I allowed someone else to do that occasionally?