Life: I Care Alot.

Famous Steve
9 min readMay 21, 2024

What Does Help Mean To You?

There is a guy by the traffic light that I give money to, you know, as living expenses become more and more difficult, in my city, maybe in yours too, more and more people find a traffic light to stand with a card board seeking assistance, financial assistance.

Anyway, this particular person stays at this particular light and I tend to go by this light on Saturdays after soccer. Sometimes, on Sunday after church. I’d be there, he’s almost always there. I’d hand him an envelop, make the situation as human as possible, fist bump, we chat one word or two words, I drive off at the green light.

I wouldn’t call him a friend but I recognize him and he recognizes the car. Then two weeks ago, he says he has to make $100 to secure a place to sleep, he doesn’t know what to do to make the money but he’s going to do what he has to, to make the money. Of which I responded something human, like yeah, I get you. The following Saturday, last week, he comes right out, and tells me to give him a hundred dollars that he knows I got it. That, I always give him money, I should just give him a large sum. I laughed inside, while I was uncomfortable on the outside.

I laughed because it would not be the first time generosity is misunderstood for a lack of common sense. I recently learned, like four days ago, that generosity is me choosing your welfare over mine. I’m choosing you to have this, instead of me having/keeping this. Generosity is self inspired, that is I choose, you choose, soliciting is demanding to receive. Soliciting is not generosity.

I’m blowing this out of proportion, surely. Let’s go ahead and blow it all the way open. Haha

My brain went from the feeling of giving, you know helping another, to feeling like a mark, about to be taken advantage of. Like there’s a target on you.

Let’s consider the human logic, deeper.

Consider this: That I agree for a person (friend, family member, friend of a family member) to stay at my house does not mean they should ask to move in. In my mind, those are two unrelated situations.

My mind would consider those situations completely differently when making a decision. To shock you, I can say yes to a person staying a day or two at the house but would not, more like would never, accept for them to “move in”. Maybe you’re the same.

While, there are some people I’d be half way alright with them moving in, for a (short) while. To me, two different situations. Two different people. But, to some, it’s the same thing.

If you’re comfortable with me being here a night or two or a week, you should be alright with me being here a month. Just one straight line from this logic to that conclusion. “You didn’t say no, initially, so why have a problem with it now.”

Funny enough, I wouldn’t ask (or would prefer not to ask) a person I stay with for a day or week to keep me for a month, I’d go somewhere else and stay a month out the gate — so as to “not be a burden” to the first person. And I have been in situations where the first person (like a family member) gets offended that I’d leave their place, to go somewhere else, as though their home was not comfortable or “enough” for me to stay longer. Human logic, preference and understanding can differ significantly.

Back to the traffic guy.

I probably have no reason to complain or feel a teeny bit offended, but I do and I’m writing this to sort out why I feel that way when I should have laughed it off, drove off and moved on.

You know, the $100 is not the issue. It is the “give me because you have it” as opposed to “what can I do for you that would earn me. . ”

In college, I was hungry. The church we went to would feed the college students, well, feed the members, members were mostly college students, so the church would feed the college students after service. The Pastor’s wife, would cook these cook out family style dinners in big trays, lined up in the basement, after service we all go make a plate to eat and a plate to take home.

In college, I was without money. My rent was due, my rent was always due, it was like the calendar date was only 15th — 31st, there wasn’t much work to make money. I remember going back to the church to ask for help to pay rent. Back then, you asked everybody you could for help. The Pastor asked me to come to the house to shove snow from his driveway for $20. Today, I appreciate that ideology more than I did those days.

That it is given doesn’t mean it should be demanded. It is not a straight line from one to the other.

Though, people would go to where they’re most likely to get help, which in their mind, is where they’ve been getting help. This is complex.

From the mind of the giver: Generosity is not stupidity. From the mind of the receiver: I have to ask (or start from) who has been willing to give me in the past.

Generosity is not stupidity. What then is the difference?

When you mistake my generosity for a mark, you’re calling me stupid. In my mind. When you look past what I’m willingly sharing or giving to you to begin to consider what I must have kept for myself, from my own sweat, or what I enjoy, from my own turmoil and proceeding to ask from that which was not shared, it might not be your greed but it’s no longer my generosity.

I am definitely blowing this out of proportion, let’s continue. Haha, I care a lot. I care a lot about people. I care a lot to remind myself that my generosity, no matter how uncommon, is a choice, my choice — that way it’s not polluted by people because people ruin everything.

Should the traffic guy had asked to wash the car for money, I’d have probably said no to the offer because I don’t want a car wash and I don’t have an available $100 to give. Almost all my money is marked, for a purpose — including the ones in the envelop. But his understanding of work to get would have looked good on him should I remember someday to give him extra. Asking isn’t work. Working is work.

In my younger days, I understood that there are two types of people. I probably wrote about this already, I don’t remember. Anyways, there are two types of poor people, the one who is willing but poor because of a lack of access. And, the other who is poor but they are not willing. My interest is to enable the former, those who are willing but excluded. Not, the latter, those who don’t lift a finger to help themselves.

Generosity is A choosing what to give and giving. Stupidity is B thinking because A gave that B can now take, demand or even ask repeatedly, or substantially because A can be taken.

There is that adage, I don’t know why I’m still going off this one event, anyways, there is that adage of teach a person to fish rather than give them fish. Imagine you don’t have the option of teaching them how to fish, out of the fishes you’re taking to your family to eat, you see a hungry person by the road, you give them a fish, only for the person to ask for a bunch of fishes or even half of the cooler to tide them over. What would your expression be? what would you say? The complete sentence of “NO”?

It’s all good. It works out in the end. I don’t know what help means to you, I don’t know how you’ve been generous or taken advantage of, I don’t know the good deeds you stopped doing because someone somewhere turn repulsive something that was once good. I do know, you live for a reason and for that reason you should live. I’ve been on this people ruin everything agenda and I will say to you with each encounter with another human, give your best, drop the mess, and move on knowing you gave your best.

All those the Lord brings to you, find something to bless them. It doesn’t have to be money like I do, it can be a phone call. Instead of calling my relatives, I send them money and write “how are you?” in the deposit memo. That’s convenient and comfortable for me, I don’t want to talk on the phone, I’d rather talk when we see face to face. But you might be more comfortable driving to your relatives or calling your relatives or hosting a charitable event. Whatever your calling is, where your growth and comfort meets, do it well. Be known for something, something good, I should add.

Let all around you be blessed as a result of knowing you. Let your light shine, shine for the goodness of all. May you not be dim, may you not lose your way, may you not lose your shine, may you not lose your light.

While humans ruin everything, be more than human, be a representation of your Lord. Give grace, give mercy. Give forgiveness. Give peace. If it is in their nature to ruin things, why then be upset? If it is man’s nature to offend you, you then have little to no reason to be offended, if you already know it is in his nature to offend you. If it is in her nature to upset you, be on the ready to tender forgiveness and harmony not retaliation because you are prepared, on the ready to give love to those who are straining.

People, most people, do not offend because of you, they do not even think of you when they offend but they offend from the pain within, from the pride within from the selfish interest within from the desire to elevate themselves by putting others down, when you encounter most people, smile. Not because their annoyance is delightful, no, smile because you were pre-warned, I am pre-warning, be prepared. Smile, because life is still good with peoples’ foolishness and inadequate efforts, life is still good. If youre breathing and unhindered, life is still good. Take away all you have and life is still good. Victor Frankl was facing his death and still he was undefeated though his body was overtaken by pain, strife and eventually death.

What am I sharing with you today? Life Is Still Good. And, for as long as we continue a part of this beautiful and wonderful world, it is ever in our power and capacity to be the exception to the rule of the world. Where others tears people down for their upliftment, for their sense of self worth, for their pride, we lift people up without putting ourselves down.

Do not lose your Light. It was not given by men and should not be dimmed by humans. Look up to whence cometh thy help.

With Love,

Famous Steve.