Accepting Charity

It can be difficult to ask for help. Sometimes you’re just too determined to make it on your own, too prideful. I’ve been there. I remember my roach motel, a little rental house I lived in for almost 2 years. The kitchen countertops were little more than plywood, which I covered with contact paper to look like actual countertops. How bad were the cockroaches? I remember scooping out cat food one day and finding the bag full of roaches. I bug bombed the place a few times and finally got them down to a minimum. There was no central heat or air, the stove didn’t work, the fridge barely worked, and the place was so drafty, the only time I ever felt warm in the winter was when I was in bed under the electric blanket. It was the most horrible place I ever lived. But I could afford it on the minimum wage jobs I worked and I didn’t want to ask my Dad for help. I survived. Barely. As bad as it was, I wasn’t ashamed of it, and I’m still not. I was able to make it on my own. Even though I could have found a much nicer apartment for not much more money, I was too proud to ask for the money I would need for deposits and moving expenses. I probably would have been much better off if I had.

There’s another thing that can keep us from asking for help: accountability. A few years ago, Scott quit his job so he could go to welding school. He was looking for part time work, but he was unemployed for almost 6 months. During that time, his parents paid our rent for us. I hated it. I felt like we should be able to strip our spending down enough to pay our own way, or at least half, or something! I felt horrible about every penny I spent. If I didn’t have time to make coffee before work, I didn’t dare stop on the way and buy a cup, because then I would have to answer for my wastefulness. Once a week, after Mass, we would go out to eat with Scott’s brother. It was only $20, but I felt so horrible about it. I felt like I had to ask Scott’s parents’ permission to spend money because of what they were giving us.

But is that what they wanted? Did they feel like paying the rent gave them the license to control us? And at the end of the day, would they care if we ate out once a week so we could spend time with Scott’s brother, their own child? If they wanted us to sit at home drinking nothing but water and eating nothing but ramen, they wouldn’t have offered to help us out! But that’s one more reason not to ask for help: I don’t want to feel accountable to you for every dollar I spend!

I resented every dollar that was given to us, when I should have welcomed it with an open and grateful heart. And I will confess that I’ve been on the other end of things and criticized someone’s spending because if I was going to help them, they better listen to me! That’s no way to give or receive. Money tends to make us all a little crazy, doesn’t it?

So, when Jennifer Fulwiler declined all offers of financial help after being hospitalized with pulmonary embolisms, I understood how difficult it can be. It is human nature to want to be independent. Divine nature, however, teaches us how dependent we truly are, on God and on each other. So, it was only appropriate that Hallie started a collection for the Fulwilers anyway. Jennifer’s blood thinners are now up to $4,000 per month. That’s more than we make in a month in this house! But if Jennifer has inspired you through her conversion and you have a dollar or two to spare, here is the link to donate. If not, please continue to offer prayers!

Bear ye one another’s burdens; and so you shall fulfill the law of Christ. –Galatians 6:2

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , | 1 Comment

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One thought on “Accepting Charity

  1. shelbybella

    …what a great post. Really helps one get the whole understanding of the issue of asking for help..been there.

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