I popped into Kroger after work to grab a few things for this weekend, and on my way out, this caught my eye:
This is a big deal for a couple of reasons. We live in a wealthy area. We ourselves are not wealthy (although we are working hard to change our behavioral economics in order to retire early–that journey will be covered extensively in other posts), but we live in a planned community NW of Little Rock proper. “Planned community” is often tied to “affluent,” in case that wasn’t clear.
This is easily the nicest place I’ve lived. We rent a perfectly-sized condo (I never knew the difference between a condo and a townhouse until we moved here), and we’ve downsized half of our possessions, if not more. We’ve changed careers and “lost” $40k in yearly income. We still have more than enough. And yet, for me, this emptiness. This questioning.
Some kind of If.
So, an innocuous red crate situated behind the cashiers caught my eye, and a not-dormant-but-not-where-it-should-be part of me thought, “Well, shit.”
There are needy everywhere. Before you start wringing your hands and wondering what religious or organizational affiliations I claim, let me stop you right there, Chief. I don’t have one. I have an evolving system of beliefs that can’t be satisfied by one house, one camp. I’m fine with that. I figure I’ll work on it as I go. I’m of the opinion that all of this (whatever this is) is larger than we can possible imagine, and we barely have conceived of our true cosmic insignificance. We can’t really help that, yet.
I have more than enough to eat. There are people that live less than four miles from me that don’t. I’m not okay with that.
These days, the sucker’s argument can draw one into troll-fests and bait posts faster than you can say, “Oh man, my life’s already over?!?” Let me try a different route.
My sister hipped me to food rescue programs in cities all over the U.S. in which volunteers gather food that would otherwise soon spoil and be needlessly wasted. These volunteers receive a notification, pick up the food items, and deliver them to those who need them. It’s a thing of beauty. Last I checked, Little Rock isn’t quite there, but I think there are other grass root programs that serve the same purpose.
I took a quick drive with Casey to see the Little Free Food Pantry, and it’s fashioned just like the little libraries I’ve seen in small communities. Take what you need, and give what you can. Cool.
This is where some might say, “Oh yeah, it’s in front of a church.” It becomes a hang-up. I don’t regularly attend church, so I don’t get drawn into the minutiae of “What kind of church is it” and so on. That’s not the point. Food goes into the box. People who need it get food from the box. People who want to give put food into the box. I love it. It makes me a little emotional thinking about it.
See, I don’t do much. I create fake pressures to fret and to worry about things that don’t actually concern me. I’m a mess at times.
However, I have a great life. I have opportunities all the time. I’m surrounded by nice, caring people. My pondering and preoccupation of the Human Condition torments me because I don’t do anything about it. It’s a cognitive behavioral issue, and it’s not the first time I’ve thought about it or written about it.
I wrote this quickly just to put it out there, because I’m out of practice working to be a better human. Spooky Mike said it best: “Dig it! Humans helping humans. It’s big.” These moments are often all we have. I think I need to spend mine a little better sometimes.
I’m a little all over the place with this one, but I know some of you will get it. We don’t have a lot of time, but we have a lot more time than some do.
It might be time to see what else there is that we can do.