Ah yes – Black Friday and the official opening of the Season of Greed and its companion Seasons ‘it’s about ME’ and ‘Wasteful Plenty’.
The Season of ‘it’s about ME’ where people are phoning around looking for someplace to volunteer – early in December so they can get it done before they get busy. No, it cannot be January or June or October but must be December.
Should the organization be unable to accommodate the December, preferably early December, timetable …… it’s “Thanks but I’ll try somewhere else”. Should the organization be so … ungrateful as to suggest volunteering in another month at a different time of year … egad, that’s just not on.
The Season of ‘it’s about ME’ where it is not about the year round needs of others or the organizations that serve the community and those needs 52 weeks a year but about the needs of ME’s December.
Soon after the opening of the Season of ‘it’s about ME’ we will be into the Season of Wasteful Plenty, a sub-Season of the ‘it’s about ME’ Season.
The Season of Wasteful takes place during the two to three weeks before Christmas when the homeless are buried under so much Plenty they cannot carry it all.
Giving those to whom sharing or a generous heart is an anathema the opportunity to bemoan “See, the homeless are throwing away what was so generously given to them. So ungrateful; there is no point in trying to help them obviously don’t appreciate/deserve/want help.”
Both critics and givers overlooking or ignoring the reality that when you are homeless, you have no convenient storage for excess items; that when you travel from place to place by walking every ounce of weight gets heavier over the course of the day; that winter, with the need for warm clothing and its inclement weather, is the time of year the homeless can carry the least.
During the short 2 – 3 weeks of the Season of Wasteful Plenty the homeless are loaded down with so much stuff they either need a pack animal to carry it all or must chose the items most useful to their survival – and abandon the rest.
Then the High Holy Day(s) of the Season of Greed – Boxing Day and Boxing Week – arrive and the Spirit is switched off and thoughts of the homeless and giving are relegated to the scrap-heap of indifference – until the arrival of Black Friday once again signals the opening of the new Season’s of Greed, ‘it’s about ME’ and Wasteful Plenty.
Watching this cycle year after year, knowing how useful the items abandoned during the Season of Wasteful Plenty would be in the days, weeks and months following December 25th – if they were to be distributed in the New Year.
Watching people scramble to get their volunteering in, making themselves feel good or be able to say “oh yes, I volunteered at ******. Knowing what could be accomplished if volunteerism, generosity and the Spirit could truly be kindled in the hearts year round.
It is the season that, rather than bring out the Light in the human race, too often speaks to the worst in the human race.
It is the season that would have me despairing of the future of the human race was it not for …
The dental professionals who give their time to the Abbotsford Food Bank‘s dental clinic so those with the need, but not the means, can have dental care; the volunteers who not only faithfully come in to prepare and serve lunch throughout the year, but give up their holidays (i.e. thanksgiving) to come in to prepare and serve lunch so that holidays are not a day of hunger for those in need; the varied group of people who come together year round on Thursday evening to donate, prepare and serve a meal to those who hunger – outside in sun, rain or snow ; the congregations of Peace Lutheran and St. Matthews who one Sunday a month serve dinner; those who give their time as big brothers/sisters, to coach the Special Olympics, to coach soccer or hockey or baseball; the two friends who preserved my mobility (my car) and the benefits that flow from that mobility; others who struggle to meet the need in our community.
Behaviours and people remoulding the despair for the future into a search for the words to inspire others to think, to reflect and to change – choosing enlightened self-interest over greed.