Friday, May 18, 2007

dummy

His wife got colon cancer at 52. After the initial treatment, spots on her liver. She asked him to stay with her for the year it took her to die. He turned up at my shop yesterday to tell me about her funeral, this woman I knew hardly at all. Our connection was that I sold her some furniture 3-4 years ago. He's having a hard time, funeral's Monday. Has to get to Oklahoma City to pick up an insurance check. No money for gas, "is there something I could do for you around here to make some money? Will you come out and look at the antiques and see if you want to buy some? I'll be moving to Albuquerque, have to get rid of it all."

I am stunned by his loss, imagining myself in his position, remembering the wretched years I spent taking care of Mike, not knowing if he was going to live or die. I don't have any work for him at the shop. He looks exhausted, red eyed, a little scruffy, with that odor little boys get when they play hard out in the sun. I write him a check to get him to Oklahoma City and back, tell him he can do some things around the house in return. He thanks me profusely and tells me he'll be at the house at 9:30 a.m. sharp, he needs to stay busy so as not to think.

It's 12:20 p.m. Friday. I am a dummy once again, offering help that wasn't really asked for, not really (but that is, after all, the essence of good manipulation), but feeling an obligation because of my own blessings, the richness of my life, my great good fortune. This affliction of imagining myself in someone else's shoes feels like a curse at times. Then I remember the gratitude I feel in being able to do something for someone else, in being able to help. I feel blessed with the recognition that it is only the grace of the Spirit that allows me to sit in my home on a Friday morning, drinking coffee, listening to my husband talking to the puppies, feeling the sense of peace and contentment that comes from being healthy, happy and whole, from being in love and loving back.

I don't have that drive any longer, that urge to manipulate and con another human being, and for that I am grateful. It's worth quite a bit just to recognize that this morning. No doubt I will continue to be a dummy with the handouts. It always feels right at the time and I'm never in control of the outcome, even when one is planned; I do remember that as I'm making out the check, counting out the cash.

I'll think of it as a good fortune tax, a tithe as penance for my own bad old days of using people and thinking nothing of it. It's funny to me, too, that I am always surprised. The happy soul in me would rather think more of people than less, practice hope rather than cynicism, even if just for a bit. I swear off for a while, bypassing the many opportunities literally on every corner, and then I dive back in. I will remain a sucker with a checkbook, ready for the next sad sack with a tale of woe. Boo hoo, boo hoo? There, there now. I've got money for you.

7 Comments:

Blogger Debra said...

Well, good for you, Lynette. In the spiritual economy, I believe that we all answer for what we do -- you for your generosity, he for his perfidy. We can give freely and not worried about being conned because we don't have to answer for being suckered. Whew, that's a relief -- it's happened to me way more than once, too.

May 18, 2007 1:23 PM  
Anonymous Tater said...

Here I thought you were such a tough girl too. You really disappoint me sometimes Lynette. ;)

Karma is paid daily, with a checkbook, an action, an emotion, or a moment of understanding. Sounds like you accomplished all of these things all rolled up in one. Good on you sweetheart, good on you.

May 18, 2007 1:40 PM  
Blogger Rantings of a wing nut said...

I completely agree with Debra. You have no idea as to what or where your kindnesses will lead. It is not up to us to maniplate the outcome of our actions, though admittedly it would be nice to NOT be manipulated by others. We all pay for our kindnesses and our tresspasses. Besides you are blessed with recovery and a wonderful sense of humor, I love your blog, and hope to read many many more entries!!

May 18, 2007 1:45 PM  
Blogger lisalgreer said...

You will have jewels in your crown, girl. :) You know, a family member of mine has so much and hates her own MIL and others who need money and stuff so much. It sucks the life out of me to be around this person; you, on the other hand, are light and life giving. My dad is like that, too, and I really love that about him. He has been blessed, and he gives freely without worrying about what will come of it. It is such a blessing to know how blessed you are and to open your hands. And I agree with others, we will never be judged for giving.

May 18, 2007 3:15 PM  
Blogger evilganome said...

My Grandma Brown always contended you should never regret a kind act. You must have a karma account like nobody's business girl.

May 18, 2007 3:39 PM  
Blogger Willym said...

Remember Father Guido Sarducci on the old SNL - you tote up those good acts as monetary credit in St Peter's ledger. Then when you get to that Heavenly entrance you start "paying for your sins." (If I remember correctly masturbation was 10 cents a pop - there goes my savings down the tubes) Credit balance you continue on through those Pearly Gates, debit balance you start the descent having abandoned all hope - sort of sounds like a religous-right boardgame doesn't it.

Figure you'll have a credit balance Lady!

May 18, 2007 4:49 PM  
Blogger Beula said...

I believe when we bless others we are blessed in kind. You girl are going to live a rich woman. In spirit and in pocket.

May 18, 2007 5:44 PM  

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