This weekend, I went to a dreaded bar-b-que. I didn’t want to go, as there would be people there whom I’d rather avoid. People who might say things about me behind my back. People who like to belittle my accomplishments and tisk-tisk about all the potential I once had. Most of these people don’t understand the work I do and why I find it valuable.
Most of these people weren’t there, though. Instead, I ran into a very old friend who has fallen on hard times. An old friend whom I know I could help out a little. Not much, but a little.
It’s odd what age does to us. Experience, more than anything, can age us. I know people younger than I am who have a lot of gray hair. I’m talking in their early twenties with lots of the stuff. Most of them are homeless, or have been for a period of time. Some have one of an assortment of addictions.
People are all the time asking me why I don’t have any children; why I don’t really want any. The simple and easy answer is that I haven’t met anyone I’d like to have one with. But really, though, I’ve seen too much. I know that even when someone has had the best upbringing, even when one has all the love and support in the world, things can go wrong. You can have great, well educated, supportive parents and still end up on hard times, cooking meth in a house full of pit bulls. Even when you have friends who want to help you, you can still end up living in your car, trading various favors for cash and food.
There are no garuntees, no golden tickets. Some people believe that they are beneath the help of others. Some think that they are above it. I have yet, though, to meet anyone who is beneath being helped. And I know that my friend is not too worthless a person. Not my bookend.