edited: Tuesday, February 21, 2012
By Dr. Niama L Williams
Rated "PG" by the Author.
Posted: Tuesday, February 21, 2012
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Dr. Ross Bills, a physician and medical school faculty member (among many other titles) in Queanbeyan, New South Wales, Australia, gives an unusual view of charity.
Readers, a window in on my correspondence with a dear friend in New South Wales (known to we Americans as Australia) who has some intriguing things to say about charity, a subject many of us are facing during this festive and also troubling time of year.
A mentor for whom I have a great deal of respect recently responded to a message in which I exasperatedly vented about wanting someone to “just step up and pay it already”—meaning my rent—with words that cut to the quick. As always with those put in my life to teach me, I wanted to give her perspective a fair hearing and ask if in fact you have known me, during our twenty-year correspondence, to “play helpless.”
Does it in fact mean that I am exhibiting mean and nasty entitlement to express what might be considered a Talented Tenth (a term from the work of W. E. DuBois) perspective and ask others to pay my rent until I get on my feet? This mentor felt that my "friends" were simply too kind to tell me that I was only playing helpless and that I needed to wake up and smell the coffee and get responsible for my life.
I thought very carefully about this person’s words, and responded that I didn't disagree with the content of the message, but I did with the tone, to which the mentor replied that they loved me enough to tell me the truth.
So I ask, and please, I've been ridiculed by the best so feel no need to hold back here: do you feel that I am "playing helpless"? My mentor thought I was serious when I said I wanted someone to "just step forward and pay it"; I was merely expressing my frustration after a taxing year and a half.
Love and blessings,
Dr. Ni, who can take it
In all the world there are people who criticise, and people who encourage and support. (And some who do both). There are those who seek human kindness, and those who resent it, those who stand up for themselves and believe everyone should stand up for them. But most importantly, there are the rest of us. Humans. Insecure, needing reassurance, needing to feel wanted, loved, respected. We are creatures of the herd, needing the strength of our fellows to preserve and protect us.
The great pillars of most religions involve charity. Humanity can lay claim to charity as a unique and human trait. It might be said it is one of those things that makes us truly human.
Of charity it has been said that we should give as we are able, that others may take as they need. Charity is by its nature freely given. It is not for anyone to criticise the gift, and thereby diminish it, nor to criticise the recipient or their receipt of the gift and thus diminish it.
Friendship is the same as charity.
In responding as [this person] did [they] perhaps did not understand that friends consider how best to offer their friendship, as do those who give or offer charity.
You did not sit in the gutter, covered in festering sores with palm outstretched, crying "baksheesh" to all who passed.
I seem to recall a voice crying in the wilderness, shepherds seeking for the lamb that was lost, and at the end, rejoicing. Much rejoicing. Do not let someone put vinegar in your wine, if only because when they do they put vinegar in my wine too. (And in my vernacular, tweren't vinegar, and the wine tweren't wine, t'were beer).
Ross (saying feeling guilt for receiving charity will make the giver feel guilt about being charitable, and that fish doesn't swim)
You are so wise.
I am sitting here reading your email, it has been a difficult night of doubts and recriminations and resentments and angers and finally terror, and one of my housemates just rose from the table, having finished her cup of coffee and prepared to go out of the door to work. I said to her, musing over your email, that there are good people in the world, there truly are.
Thank you, Friend. You are a true Knight in Shining Armor with a twinkle in your eye and a deep and profound kindness in your heart. All tempered with a deeper and profounder philosophy of how to exist in the world.
Have a great ..... uh ..... Friday evening? I always guess when it comes to the 14-hour time difference …….
Love and blessings,
Web Site: Dr. Ni's Notes & Nibbles
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