Even though I tend to heal fairly quickly, these surgeries I've been getting are fairly major. I can't expect to have full use of my left arm for another couple of months. And I AM gradually able to increase activity with it. Being left handed, of course, makes this one harder than the right side last year.
I think about my limitations, and then the limitations of some of the people we serve, and I am humbled. We meet people missing legs, fingers, an eye, arms, a thumb. How would I ever cope if I lost a thumb?! People confined to wheelchairs. People fighting mental disorders, especially PTSD. People living with chronic pain and no access to medical support. People with decaying teeth and no chance for dental care.
These people are a lot stronger and more patient than I'll ever be. These people know and have known true hardship, and they're still contributing what they can, taking only what they need, and keeping a positive outlook and polite attitude. It baffles me that people with so much self discipline can be looked down upon by our society.
A new refugee family showed up at one of the emergency pantries last week. That one is only open in the evenings, and they were discouraged because they couldn't come back and had hungry children waiting for them to bring something to eat. Glad that I happened to be there delivering a donation, I was able to let them shop. We try to make the experience of receiving food as dignified as possible. We chat with our clients and walk them through the aisles with a shopping cart, asking them what they would like, not what they need. This family, although entitled to much more, was careful to pick only items that would meet their immediate needs. More help was coming for them in a week, so they carefully skipped half the available foods, knowing that someone else might need them more.
Hungry people are not selfish. They're not ignorant or illiterate. The majority are white families, citizens, people who know how to work hard. When a job disappears, so many have to choose between housing and food. Housing help is harder to get, so most choose to give up buying groceries. A sudden disability can end a career in the blink of an eye, and these people have to change and adapt and survive as best they can. Victims of war and abuse and crime know how it feels to run for your life, only to be shunned when they find safety. Their strength is inspiring. Our society looks down our noses at them, and they patiently, quietly, forgivingly, carry on. We have a lot to learn from our "lower class" neighbors.