“Where To Begin?”

A Katrina Leftover, New Orleans, 2017

In the process of retrieving a much-needed toy from my granddaughter’s stroller parked on my front porch, I’d stepped outside to discover a white, curly-haired, slightly chunky young man about to ring my doorbell. Grandma on a mission, I think he told me he was soliciting for WGBH— but I could be wrong. I really wasn’t listening. For sure he launched into a spirited spiel lauding NPR; he even listed several programs and, to his credit, having taken note of the stroller and the toy in my hand, made special mention of  “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood.”

“I know what NPR is,” I muttered.

“Then I’m sure you want to support it,” he countered.

Approaching the front door I turned to face him. “I truly believe in what NPR does but, no, I can’t.”

“May I ask why?” he demanded and, to my consternation, took on an offensive pose, widening his stance, inflating his chest. (My guess? He played football in high school.)

Ahh, dear reader, what a teachable moment! How I would have loved to explain to that young man that for aging Quakers like me and my husband, living on retirement funds, charitable giving is incredibly complicated. Babies starve in Yemen, there’s relief money desperately needed all over the world because of climate change, and, locally, the Somerville Homeless Coalition always needs money; so does the Welcome Project. Every year my husband and I receive thousands of nudges and tugs and polite requests and the occasional solicitor at our door. Yes, we believe in God’s unlimited love, yes, we believe that “There’s enough” but, sadly, yes, our ability to support every worthy cause— I’m not even getting in political contributions!—is definitely limited. (And, sadly, because of inflation and rising health care costs, especially medications, actually shrinking.) How I would have loved to tell that young man that it took my husband and me almost two years to come up with a careful, thoughtful formula for giving. So, sorry, young man but NPR didn’t make the final cut.

But his belligerence on my own front porch—his aggressive posture triggered something very primal and territorial—meant I was Done. And besides, I was still Grandma on a mission!

“Where to begin?” I asked, stepping inside. (Sorry, young man. That’s all I got.)

And firmly shut the door.


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1 Comment

  1. Dearest Patricia,

    Well, hi, there, Patricia, my so, so very FOR ALWAYS awesomely precious and dearly special soul sistahfriend Christian Quaker woman who you’re FOR ALWAYS so, so very much! 😊. ❤ Sistah, what a very beautiful, insightful, and very brilliant reflection here, my friend! Self-care is very important and you both can only do what you’re able, sister! There are always causes and needs and the list of worthy causes is infinite but there is only so much that people can do and only so much that people can give. WOW, I’m so, so very impressed with how diligently conscientious you two,planned for two years to get a doable charitable giving plan and a financial plan for just living your very lives from day to day. Middle class people struggle as well and middle class and middle income people like you two do your absolutely very best, my so, so very darling sisterfriend, Patricia. It isn’t easy for anybody in these current times and even the middle class is must trying to make it and survive. YOU BOTH are doing all that you can do, my dear, dearest, precious, darling Patricia!😊❤ I truly understand with all that I have with all of my very being even being an indigent, disabled woman receiving my low, fixed income with my disability benefits I just so understand that folks just do what they’re able to do and that people have to take into account their own self-care and only do what is workable and doable, my so, so very sweet sister, Patricia!!!!!! 😊❤ Spirit so, so very much loves YOU, Patricia, and all of you and yours and all of you and cherishes you all a whole lot and a whole bunch FOR ALWAYS and SO DO, I, TOO!!!!!!😊❤ With Thanksgiving fast approaching I’ve a very heart and spirit so, so very full to overflowing with such a thankful heart and spirit FOR SWEET SPIRIT, for all of my bountiful blessings, FOR YOU, precious Patricia and for all of you everywhere with me just loving all of you everywhere both near and far in my very heart and very life!!!! 😊❤. Happy Nice Special Blessed Bountiful Thanksgiving, my so, so very FOR ALWAYS awesomely special and dearly precious FOR ALWAYS soul sistahfriend Christian Quaker white woman, Patricia, and all of you everywhere both near and far FOR ALWAYS!!!!!! 😊❤. YOURS FOR ALWAYS soul sistahfriend Christian black woman in the great spirit of unity and solidarity, Sherry Gordon in Iowa City, Iowa. 😊❤

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