Life Without Baby

Filling the silence in the motherhood discussion

With Eyes of Faith…Charity and Social Justice May 31, 2012

By Dorothy Williams


 

“But when you give alms,

do not let your left hand know what your right is doing,

so that your almsgiving may be secret.

And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.”

 

~ Jesus

Gospel of Matthew, chapter 6, verses 3 & 4

 

The virtue of charity is about more than writing a check to a dachshund rescue group.  As I wished friends at church a “Happy Mother’s Day” this year, I realized that this too was a form of charity and a gift worth giving.  Because I gave from my poverty — my lack of children — the gift felt more sacrificial than inking over alms in the form of cash, so that’s why I almost overlooked it as a practice of virtue.

 

Why are these gifts so hard to give?  Maybe it’s because we look for immediate reward from people rather than God; maybe it’s because we get tied up in knots trying to achieve social justice.  A Chinese proverb says: “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” Charity is the initial gift of fish, while social justice changes the man’s behavior, to cure the problem requiring charity in the first place.  When I first grappled with the fact that I was childless, all I wanted was social justice.  If I could just change society’s perception of my status, I would not have to be so understanding, so charitable, in the face of such monumental ignorance and insensitivity.  But in a child-centric culture, I was in over my head. Opportunities for social justice seemed to be around every corner and it frustrated me as I tried to correct problems that sometimes didn’t even exist!  I eventually learned that charity is something I could give until I had the opportunity to cure the problem at its root.

 

Nowadays, when I enter a troubling situation where I do not have the capacity or motivation to teach, I give an inward glance to the Lord, secretly communicating my need for grace in dealing with the person who has just crossed a mental boundary. Sometimes my gift of charity is humor, like when I brush off an insensitive comment with a joke.  Sometimes the gift is sacrificial, like when I wish someone a “Happy Mother’s Day”.  Finding balance between charitable and teachable moments is worth the struggle we go through to find it. The reward that comes from God alone is priceless.

 

Dorothy Williams lives near Chicago.  Her favorite pet rescue group is Midwest Dachshund Rescue. You can find them at:   www.mwdr.org.

Editor’s Note: This will be Dorothy’s last “With Eyes of Faith…” column. Please join me in thanking her for sharing her words these past months and wishing her well on her new writing ventures. Thanks Dorothy.

 

About these ads
 

13 Responses to “With Eyes of Faith…Charity and Social Justice”

  1. Amel Says:

    LOVE this perspective. Never thought of it this way. THANK YOU for sharing! :-))) God bless you!

    • Dorothy Says:

      Amel,

      Thanks so much for your support over the past few months as I worked through my grief on this blog. I am happy to say that I am healing and hope the same for you.

      We are so blessed to be part of the LWB community! May God continue to bless Lisa for her warmth and generous spirit of hospitality.

      Dorothy

      • Amel Says:

        My pleasure, Dorothy. Amen to your prayer about God blessing Lisa. :-D

        P.S. I’ve been doing fine, thanks. :-D Waiting for our summer holiday – a fun one!

  2. I really enjoyed the kindness and rationale of this post. I am childless by choice, so I don’t experience the grief of being denied children, but I relate to the insensitivity of people who “crossed a mental boundary”. It happened often, when my mother had had a stroke and I was either caring for her myself, or she was in a nursing facility when I could no longer care for her. It stunned me how often people would say, “Oh, I could never put my mother in a nursing home.” To me that says, “Well that kind of abusive treatment is fine for YOUR mother, but I would never do that to my mother.” They never even realized that saying, “Oh, I could never put my mother in a nursing home” was, in any way, an insensitive thing to say.
    -
    It took me years to learn to ignore them. To remind myself that they don’t even have a frame of reference for this kind of pain/experience. This is my only frame of reference to the insensitivity that the majority of subscribers to this blog go through every day in this child-centric world. I wish those people peace. And perspective.
    -
    When my mother was in a nursing home, there were 3 shifts of people, doing the work of caring for her. The work that I had done. Or tried to do the best I could. She passed away in 2007. Since caring for my mother I have been diagnosed with PTSD. I suffer from crippling depression and anxiety which caused me to lose my successful home business, after 10 years. The recession didn’t help. Being over 50 doesn’t help. Over the last decade, I got evicted, became homeless and, I guess because I was inconvenient, my extended family has abandoned me. And as of today, I am pretty sure I have Shingles.
    -
    So please pray for me to receive peace and perspective. Being alone and destitute gives me an entirely different experience for the world, with no frame of reference, to judge me by, and I am fairly sick of it, so I do not have the “capacity or motivation to teach”. Because now the insensitivity is, “but the government will take care of you.” So before you even start: NO. They wont. StressTakesAToll.com @mehomeless

    • Dorothy Says:

      Kathleen,

      I am so sorry to hear that you are still struggling to survive. My sister was the primary caretaker for my mother during Mom’s battle with cancer. After Mom passed, my sister broke down from exhaustion.. She eventually recovered as I hope you will, too.

      I will pray for you to receive peace, perspective and restoration of home and finances. What a terrible ordeal to suffer!

      Sincerely,
      Dorothy

      • Thanks Dorothy, I can always use the prayers. Can I ask who was there to help support your sister in her recovery. Usually family. Sister, husband, maybe children. That is my greatest pain. I have no parents, no husband, no children, so with my depression I turned to my cousins and my aunts who I lived near and was close to as a child, but they now live in other states. I required more than they were willing to give. That’s is the most difficult to reconcile. My mother required more than I could give, and I gave it anyway, to the detriment of myself. But that is what family is supposed to do. Or at least I thought. Take care of each other. In my family, apparently it is just “immediate family”. – Last year I fell and had to have emergancy surgery on my left hand. The admitting clerk asked me who they they could call in case of emergency. I was shocked that I had no answer. The world is not only child-centric, its also family-centric, and I have none. I play a drinking game in my head the entire month of December every year. Everytime someone on TV says the Holidays are all about family, time to “take a drink”. Much like the children oriented comercials, especially during the holidays, I am bombarded by the “family” oriented commercials. Same, same. When family is the most important thing in the world, and you dont have any, then what. No one has my back. But again thanks for the blessings and prayers.

  3. Reblogged this on and commented:
    I really enjoyed the kindness and rationale of this post. I am childless by choice, so I don’t experience the grief of being denied children, but I relate to the insensitivity of people who “crossed a mental boundary”. It happened often, when my mother had had a stroke and I was either caring for her myself, or she was in a nursing facility when I could no longer care for her. It stunned me how often people would say, “Oh, I could never put my mother in a nursing home.” To me that says, “Well that kind of abusive treatment is fine for YOUR mother, but I would never do that to my mother.” They never even realized that saying, “Oh, I could never put my mother in a nursing home” was, in any way, an insensitive thing to say.
    -
    It took me years to learn to ignore them. To remind myself that they don’t even have a frame of reference for this kind of pain/experience. This is my only frame of reference to the insensitivity that the majority of subscribers to this blog go through every day in this child-centric world. I wish those people peace. And perspective.
    -
    When my mother was in a nursing home, there were 3 shifts of people, doing the work of caring for her. The work that I had done. Or tried to do the best I could. She passed away in 2007. Since caring for my mother I have been diagnosed with PTSD. I suffer from crippling depression and anxiety which caused me to lose my successful home business, after 10 years. The recession didn’t help. Being over 50 doesn’t help. Over the last decade, I got evicted, became homeless and, I guess because I was inconvenient, my extended family has abandoned me. And as of today, I am pretty sure I have Shingles.
    -
    So please pray for me to receive peace and perspective. Being alone and destitute gives me an entirely different experience for the world, with no frame of reference, to judge me by, and I am fairly sick of it, so I do not have the “capacity or motivation to teach”. Because now the insensitivity is, “but the government will take care of you.” So before you even start: NO. They wont. StressTakesAToll.com @mehomeless

  4. Maria Says:

    Thank you for this artlcle and your many others. I wish you the best in your new writing ventures!

  5. Crystal Says:

    Thank-you so much for sharing! I needed to hear this since I am very much in the “God, You’re not fair” stage. I was blessed. By God’s grace, I will one day be as victorious as you are in blessing others!

  6. Angela Says:

    Dorothy, that is a fantastic and unique perspective. I’ve never thought of charity to be something mental, more of the time and money aspect. I will try to incorporate this into my life. I’ve enjoyed your column, God bless you in your future!

  7. Dorothy Says:

    Thanks, everyone, for your support and kind comments over the past few months. Good luck and may God bless your journey through life.

  8. Julie Says:

    Your perspective over the last few months has really helped me. Thank you so much! I will miss your posts and hope that whatever life has in store for you is great.

  9. CiCi Says:

    Excellent reminder. I love your writings!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 366 other followers