As I have grown older and wiser I have learned some important lessons in life. One of them is that everyone deserves a hand up when they come across hard times in their lives. The words of Jesus taught me that early on but I guess I just wasn’t ready to hear that message. It would be years and many personal relationships before I took it to heart.
I think I have had my share of troubles during my life.
- I grew up in poverty although I didn’t really realize it at the time.
- I had a very narcissist mother who just didn’t pay much attention to me and then she abruptly abandoned me at the age of 10.
- I was a kid of small stature and kind of clumsy in my growing up years.
- I was just never any good when it came to personal interactions. I had few real friends as I just couldn’t figure out how to make that happen. Years later I found that this was primarily caused by my having Asperger’s Syndrome.
- I went deaf at the age of forty and was hard of hearing many years before that happened.
I had some tough times but not nearly as tough as many others. At least I didn’t get arrested for some of the dumb things I did in my youth. I was addicted to cigarettes for 25 years but never tried anything more severe that might have caused me to do other stupid and illegal things. I had a pretty good job which was well paying but not terribly rewarding for 30 years that allowed me to save for my retirement years. I didn’t have to struggle to find where my next meal came from as so many do today. I had tough times but I also had a pretty good life in spite of them.
I spent eleven years volunteering in a soup kitchen so I met many others who have a much harder life than I did. Many who came there over the years depended on the kitchen for a substantial part of their daily food. The soup kitchen is also where I met one of my closer friends today. He got hooked on meth in his early years and as a result spent a number of years in prison. He turned himself around several years ago but due to an injury from his drug dealer and his felony record has been unable to find any full time employment. Once you have a prison record it hangs with you your entire life creating unnecessary obstacles.
This brings me back to the point of this post. Everyone deserves a hand up sometime in their lives. I know that many people with less empathy than me don’t really understand my message here. To them there are simply unredeemables among us. I try not to put qualifications on who deserves help and who doesn’t. I have now come to fully realize the words of Jesus about being your brother’s keeper. That is a valuable lesson that I wished I has learned earlier and I wish others would learn it too.