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Two different instances prompted this article.
I read on Facebook about the “Seven Dangers to Human Virtue.”
1. Wealth without work.
2. Pleasure without conscience.
3. Knowledge without character.
4. Business without ethics.
5. Science without humanity.
6. Religion without sacrifice.
7. Politics without principles.
In the same day, I got a call from my daughter who wondered if there was a homeless shelter in Pagosa for men? She said she had a call from someone who needed a place to stay.
“I did at one time,” I said, “but I don’t know of any now.”
She said that a homeless man called the church and asked to be put up in the Econo Lodge with a hot tub. He had a bad back.
She said, “I don’t know if I’m being scammed.”
I said, “Sounds like entitlement to me. There is a hot springs down by the river in downtown Pagosa he could use that for his back.”
She called back later and said this man was at the hospital and kept calling back and demanded, “What are you going to do for me? Are you going to come and get me and take me to the Econo Lodge?”
She said, “No. I can give you the number of the men’s shelter in Durango.”
He hung up on her, then called again and demanded the church do something for him.
She called other churches to see what they had done for him. A pastor said that they had given him three nights at a motel, that he was trouble and needed to move on out of the area.
Amazing to me how someone thinks they are entitled and that people owe them a living.
What human virtue have they lost when the one who begs has purposed their life to make their living begging or demanding? To make it their profession?
I’m just being real. I’m not judging and I’ve helped a lot of people along the way who needed a helping hand. When I see people asking for money every day, I have mixed emotions. I want to help, but then I think, “Am I just enabling them?”
It takes discernment to know when to help. When someone is really down and if they want to just get to the next place in their life so they can get back on their feet, I’d do anything for them.
When I see someone day in and day out standing on the corner asking for money, or hear of someone who lives in one of the motels here in town because his cat needs a home, I want to stop and roll down my window and say something like, “Get a job.” He’s on vacation in Pagosa, and it can’t get better than that. It falls under number 1 or 2 on the list above: Pleasure without conscience, or Wealth without work.
There was a man who stood with his backpack at 160 and 84 last year. He has moved on. He was there the year before asking for money. I rolled down my car window and asked, “Why don’t you get a job and be a productive human being. I saw you here in this place last year. Your life is no better than it was a year ago?”
As I type this article, I look out the window and see my Sweet Al, who is 76 years old, limping and digging a ditch on the property. I think about those younger men on the corner who have their youth and strength … asking for money.
My Sweet Al has never quit working or wanting to work. He’s worked for nothing, or sometimes for a little, but always has worked. We’ve had our share of ups and downs, but we’ve never lost sight of the fact that there are no free lunches and no one owes us a living.
Final brushstroke: We are blessed that we can still work. We still have good health, energy and a want-to-be productive attitude. We are the blessed ones. We must keep our hearts open to those who really need our help, otherwise our own souls will become destitute.
“I believe life is a series of near misses. A lot of what we ascribe to luck is not luck at all. It’s seizing the day and accepting responsibility for your future. It’s seeing what other people don’t see. And pursuing that vision.” — Howard Schultz, Chairman and CEO of Starbucks.
Check out my book website, which I post daily: http://bettyjslade.com/BJS/Home.html.
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