Learning Charity

by Clare

This week is my school’s homecoming week, and tonight is the big football game against our school rival. It’s likely our rival will win, but the school is in spirit overload nonetheless. Our neighbors attend our rival’s school and they’re going to the game as well. These particular neighbors live in a rundown place a little ways away in a broken family and are quite poor. Tonight the kids asked if they could ride with us to the game. I myself gritted my teeth as they asked, knowing my mother would say yes. I’ll sound like a horrible person, but I have a terrible grudge against these neighbors. They come over quite often, usually at the most inconvenient times, asking to borrow an egg, or some sugar or milk, or just to play with our farm animals. They cause no harm and are quite polite, but I look at them as a bother. I know I sound terrible, but for a girl who has had to deal with a bit sketchy characters around since she was little, it’s perfectly sensible. Not all of these people have been scary, but they’ve all had their share of problems.

My family, most especially my father, is the kind who befriends everyone and tries to help them even though we can’t often do much. I know it’s our Christian duty to help those in need, but it’s hard for me to help those people who honestly creep me out. I’m not afraid of our neighbors, I think I just don’t like them because they’re different. I’ve been lucky enough to grow up in a strong, stable, and loving home, and have been a little isolated to problems many people on the streets of the world have to deal with every day, so I’m just not very used to seeing these kinds of people and befriending them myself.

But recently I’ve had to see some of these problems in flesh and blood. Attending a public school has shown me some of these situations. At my small Catholic school, there was almost no use of profanity, and pretty much everyone had a good family life. It was all very innocent and, well, Catholic. But even in the smaller high school I now attend, there are a very many people who are in the group of people who have family problems, and have been exposed to some pretty bad stuff. One of them just so happens to be in my grade.

She’s so messed up she can hardly see straight, and it’s hard to feel sorry for her when she goes right along with it and doesn’t even try to be good. But who can blame her, I guess, when she’s never had a good example to show her how to act in her life. Today I delt with that life hands-on, when she said something that rocked me back on my heels and made my head spin. I wondered how anyone could say such a thing, why they would say it. I realized then that I had no response for when something like that happens. I couldn’t exactly start lecturing her on morality in the middle of health class. This girl has no idea what morality even means. The only response I had for her was to tell her she was being disgusting, which didn’t exactly help the situation. She already knew that. And she didn’t even care. I wanted to learn how I could help her, how I could make her turn her life around, but I knew she was already too far gone. Secretly, I’ve always scoffed at the idea of people who get their lives all twisted up. A good example of this is when I think about unmarried mothers. I think they must have a low level of morality, and then I remember that my very own sister AND sister-in-law have dealt with that same problem. Kate is not a horrible person AT ALL, neither is Aurora, they’ve both just made mistakes. And they were the ones who made the decision to turn their lives around. The realization that I had was that everyone makes mistakes, every family and individual has their own problems, whether big or small. But we can fix them, and we can do our duty by trying to help others too. In the future, I want to learn how to help those who have these problems, and have a response to the people who need a helping hand the most.

It turns out that our neighbors (just the two kids) rode back from the game with us, and I found, as I really already knew, that they weren’t so bad after all. They deserve my kindness, and that’s exactly what I’ll try to give them.

5 thoughts on “Learning Charity

  1. ocularity

    I adore the raw honesty of this post. Most of us struggle with you to accept those who are different, or to practice true Christian charity. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Minnesota Prairie Roots

    Sometimes the best “help” we can be is to let our lives serve as examples and to listen, just listen. But, in your case, you went beyond and embraced those neighbor children, if not at first willingly. You were also there for that classmate and I expect she was “helped” by your simply being there.

    Given your Christian attitude and your introspective personality, you will have many more opportunities to let the love of God shine in the lives of others. Your compassion impresses me for someone so young.

  3. Jenna

    Love your honesty! Judgment is something that everyone struggles with, and that’s WORTH fighting against within yourself. Keep up the good fight!

  4. Pingback: One Sweet Year « sweetridgesisters

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