You learn to give thanks when you are down and out. You learn the importance of little things that help you get by—things most people take for granted like food and shelter. Only when you don’t have them do you realize how vital they are. Life should be more than mere subsistence. If you have the chance to help others, take the opportunity. It can mean the difference between health and decline. You can loom large in others’ eyes.
I went through a rough patch some time ago, and this is an experience that I want to share. I felt that I couldn’t go on. You know that terrible empty feeling of despair. I was able to overcome it, however, due to the kind work of a local shelter. They found me a little, seemingly insignificant job that got me to the other side. I never sneer at work of any kind now. I respect what life has to offer. When you have nothing, a job is indeed a job. It is never too menial or too worthless. It all adds up in the grand scheme of things.
I remember well this job I was given. There was a charitable event to take place in a week’s time. Publicity was put in place in the form of radio announcements and an email campaign, but they still wanted some grass roots publicity. I was asked to help for a small payment for the day. I was more than happy to oblige. The work was simple enough. I had to walk a few blocks and staple posters to telephone poles, bulletin boards, and walls. I could choose which ones and how frequent the placement.
I put on my comfy sneakers, grabbed the staple gun designated, and was off. People watched as I worked. They asked about the event and some even took flyers for their places of business. I expected that the charity was known and respected and a good turnout was in the offing. But in the world of donations, you can’t take too much for granted, and I trod on to complete my territory.
One day, one job, one payment, and one happy worker. I can’t tell you what it did for my self-esteem. The fact that the event went off without a hitch and had a great many attendees was gravy on the potatoes. I felt that I somehow had done something for someone else, just as the job giver had done something helpful for me. It is all about having a purpose in your life, something you can turn to again and again to steady your legs and lead you on.
Later, when I was on my feet again, and thriving, I wanted to return such a favor. Whenever I was able to help the homeless, I would—either with food, supplies, work, or directing them to a shelter. I wanted to spread the word that ignorance of this world is no excuse. It exists and merits our consideration. At the least you can support organizations that help if you don’t want to be hands on.