Seeking joy and meaning in a joyless mind and meaningless existence

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Good Deeds Done Dirt Cheap

I've been so blessed in my life. I've never had to worry about going without basic necessities. Poor planning, poor choices and expensive vices mean that I'm usually living from hand to mouth. But I've never really been in financial trouble. Seeing as how I'm a grown man now in his forties, it's pathetic and embarrassing to admit, but in the back of my mind I know that my parents will always bail me out if I get into a bind.

Privilege has led me to be giving towards others. I'm generous by nature, and I enjoy helping other people anyway. Unfortunately, this has led to my being taken advantage of in the past. I've lived on my own without roommates since 1994. Without going into too much detail about my deficient social circle, suffice it to say that I have often found myself starved for company. So on two separate occasions while living in Hollywood, I have allowed someone--friends of friends--to live with me when they found themselves without a situation.

Both times it was a nightmare, and the people screwed me over. Once guy sprayed Minoxidil in my cat's eye, and I got so freaked out that I was sure he was trying to poison me. The other woman promised that she mailed some packages for me, but it turns out she'd simply pocketed the money I gave her for postage. She was a piece of work in general. She was employed a grand total of two days out of the four months she stayed with me. Every night I'd come home after a hard day, and she'd be playing video games. She didn't have a car. Once she had the nerve to ask to borrow my car for a one-day babysitting gig, having printed out the bus directions that would get me to my office. She wanted to drive and have me take the bus.

Then there was this other guy, another friend of a friend. (The same friend, actually. I don't think he knew anyone who wasn't a train wreck.) So this guy used me for some quick cash. I felt sorry for him because he was HIV positive, and his lover had recently died. I don't think he worked. His apartment was *filled* wall-to-wall with all of this crap furniture he'd picked up off the street. He intended to sell it to make a living. He'd start crying, and I would help him out. I paid to hire some local movers to move some of the crap into a storage unit he had. He was a complete a**hole to me while we were trying to coordinate this crap transfer. He asked me to cash checks for him. It just went on and on. I remember finally having enough. He cried, but when I didn't budge, the tears dried up. Welcome to Hollywood!

A Helping Hand

The other day I was filling my car up during lunch when an old, rather shabby-looking man came up to me and asked for a gallon of gasoline. He told me that he'd run out just down the road. He wasn't asking for money; he was carrying an old antifreeze bottle as a makeshift gas can. I put gas in his container and told him to come back when he'd put that into his car.

He came back and told me that he was having problems getting the gas in the tank. It had even splashed into his mouth a little. I finally decided to help him out as much as I could. I told him to drive his car around to the pump, and I filled his tank. About halfway through he told me that it was plenty, but I figured I might as well do the thing properly. After all, I doubted he had well-off parents he could call and ask for gas money.

He said that my kindness was "truly a blessing from above." I was kind of embarrassed and muttered about being blessed myself. When I find myself in situations like that, I want to say something like, "God has blessed me, and I'm glad to be able to share His blessings with someone in need." But even if I had the nerve, it would sound so stupid and forced and plain trite.

Karma Isn't a Cash Machine
What is it? Some kind of cosmic cash machine?
{Saffy, Absolutely Fabulous, "Fashion"}
I enjoyed helping that man out. I just wish that some part of me wouldn't expect some kind of metaphysical reward for doing good deeds. It's an easy trap to fall into, but a fallacy in thinking. A person should do good deeds because they're the right thing to do, and for no other reason.
For we are God's workmanship, created in Jesus Christ to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
{Ephesians 2:10}
Personal Roundup

Days sober: 19
Weight: 230 pounds
Waist: 37 inches