Monday, March 14, 2011

Struggling With My Hands And Feet

"Do you want an apple? Banana? Bread?" ...pass the tray...
"Do you want an apple? Banana? Bread?" (smile) ...pass the tray..
I'm watching boy use 5 foot tongs to place brownies, balanced on top of chicken, mashed potatoes, green beans..apples and bananas, and bread.
I'm watching girl ladle gravy, husband scoop mashed potatoes.
I'm watching that 7 year old kid come back for 2nds. I'm watching that 70 year old man come back for 3rds.
I'm watching people go through the clothes girl brought in to donate.
I'm watching it all, I'm standing on my 2 feet, and using both hands..
Yet, they seem to be struggling. I'm struggling.
I get that all these people do not have the same story as him. I get that not all of them lie, cheat, and steal. I get that not all of them abandoned their children, their mothers, their fathers...their sisters. I get that not all of them missed their grandmother's funeral. I get that not all of them stick needles in their arms..using, selling, stealing, lying, scamming, dying.
Not all of them. But I'm sure some of them might..
I also get that no one asked to be here. I get that he didn't ask to be where he is now..
I go, hoping to just help feed someone, who is hungry for whatever reason. Maybe they just lost their job, and are struggling to make rent. Maybe they had to leave a violent marriage, and they need to feed their kids. Maybe they have an untreated mental illness, and this is the only life they are able to lead. Maybe I can't even begin to fathom what brings them in tonight..
And maybe they just got sucked into the fucking dark, dark world of drugs, and are unable and unwilling to get out. Maybe, the hold on them is so tight, that NO amount of hands that are reaching out are able to pull them out of this sinkhole. No matter how much screaming goes on, encouragement to grab HARD AND PULL, no matter how much money is spent on rescue efforts, they are unable to be rescued. It's simply a recovery effort now. And one that can only be done on their own. Who has ever heard of having to be themselves?
You have cancer? I'll drive you to the errands, clean your your kids, give you money.
You broke your leg? Ok..what do you need from the store? What time is your surgery?
You lost your job? Need to borrow some money? Want me to watch your kids while you job hunt?
You're homeless and addicted to heroin? hmm...well, good fucking luck to you. Let me know when you get over that.
Ooohhhh...Sounds so harsh, don't it? Well, I tried all the above tactics...the help, the store runs, the babysitting, the rehabs, the money, the suggestions, the listening ears. The advice, the, well, the blood sweat and tears that anyone would give when it comes to saving a life. And they did SHIT. Nothing.
I thought..hmm...can't kick a person when they're down. Give them a hand..
If only I "help" one more time, maybe this will be the time they see the LIGHT!
Nope. I'm here to tell you, that, no. None of my rescue efforts worked. Not a one. Drugs are stronger than me. I remain powerless.
Which brings me to tonight. I'm standing here, serving food to the homeless, the poor. I did it just last month. And I told myself, "someone has been feeding him these past 2 years, and I'm thankful for that. So, I can at least serve someone else's son..daughter." Right?
And it made me think of him. And it made me really fucking pissed off, to think of him.
There is NOTHING I can do to help him. To help him is to be handing him a loaded gun and saying "shoot". No matter how much he pleads for help, he has burned those bridges, because he had help from other sources until just last month.. for 3 years, he's had ongoing monetary help, and he did SHIT with it, except waste it. So no matter how much begging he does, or tells me he's going to get beat up, and his fingers are broken, and he needs clothes, and he's been sleeping in ditches...I can not, can not, can not help him. My brother.
I can not help my brother live.
I would only be helping him to die.
But tonight, I'm struggling. And here comes the part that will make me look like a fucking asshole..but, again..I'm struggling.
Some older man took a lot of the clothes daughter brought in...apparently he takes things like this to sell. He even took the roll of trash bags I brought for people to put their stuff in. Shit, someone stole the fucking hot sauce.
And, I can go to a nice restaurant and pay a lot of money for a nice steak..paying THEM, yet I still manage a please and thank you.
The people that managed a please and thank you were more noticeable as it was seemingly rare. Then there were the people who got mad when food ran out. Then there were the people who got real demanding about how they wanted their gravy ladled out. Then there were the ones who just kept pushing to get more and more and more.
And I know. God knows I know...that there are reasons for this. And probably, if I didn't have him in my life, demanding, and stealing, and lying, and scamming, I probably wouldn't be so pissed.
People get desperate. I get that. People lose certain skills, or were never taught them. Or are so tired, they just. Don't. Care. I'm aware of this..and all the other possibilities that bring the ugly out. I can assure you, I wouldn't have minded if it weren't for him. I wouldn't be so judgmental. I'm a lot more forgiving and understanding and empathetic and sympathetic than what I was displaying tonight..however..
I told my kids on the drive to the church, that what they are doing is being God's hands and feet. That while God is "everywhere", He can't physically be everywhere, and that's why He uses our hands and feet to do His work. And while God is with people as earthquakes and tsunami's ravage the earth, and will hold them and try to comfort those that He can reach, He can not physically be there to help rescue, recover and rebuild. His people do the work that He would have done. Little Christian soldiers, are what you are...
And I do believe that. I believe in being God's hands and feet. But tonight, my hands want to hit, and my feet want to kick. And that made me so sad. I'm not strong enough. I'm not like the women that come in here each Sunday to organize these meals. When people started lying and stealing, and scamming, I couldn't see pass my brother. That is all I could see. And I stood there, and someone complimented how great my children are, what helpers!! And I was standing there, shaking. Shaking. How I wished for their open-mindedness. Or innocence..
And I wanted to just find one person in the midst, where I could just see the face of God, and I was blinded. I just couldn't tonight.
And I hate that. Know, that I did not go tonight to be thanked. Or to have someone say "please". Or to be emotionally served. I didn't go in so that I could feel good about "what a good little deed" I did. ALL I wanted to do was feed someone. I just wanted to feed the loved one of someone out there. Just like someone has fed him. That's it. Pay it forward. Return the favor. Maybe I was wrong in that, but it is what it is.
And all I got was anger. And then I got mad at myself. And then frustrated. And then when I get mad AND angry like that, it makes me cry. So, that sucks. And I don't know right now how get beyond that. I'm sure time will help. I'm betting on God to forgive me. I don't like feeling any of this, but that's what's happening. Hopefully not forever
Another little ring on my tree..