This month we blended in an interesting way. We began in London where we bought lunch for Freddie, who wasn't in the best shape. he said he couldn't remember the last time he had a hot meal. Our lovely 12 Dollar Angel - Twyla helped deliver this gift yet again and her account of that lunch affected me in a surprising way. I found the photo she sent me confronting, and I found the idea of her sitting through a difficult lunch alone with a lost soul even more challenging. I found my reaction shameful. This wasn't easy to see because I couldn't fix Freddie. I can't fix most of the troubles I see but somehow when we bought Hula Hoops in Cambodia and soap there was a softness in that. There was a solution hidden in that gesture. But here I knew Freddie might not remember that meal after a few hours, or the kind soul who sat and listened to him. But maybe he did, or maybe it doesn't matter.
What I realised is that in helping others, in donating or not, there are challenges that speak of something deeper within me. Broken people make us uncomfortable, and I am curious to know why. This journey of The 12 Dollar Club so far has opened my eyes and heart in so many ways, and surprisingly has showed me how closed I am. I had hoped to find more souls like Freddie but it wasn't to be this month - life with a toddler on a farm has kept me busy and does not make finding the homeless an easy task.
As July was drawing to a close though I happened to pass a great Aussie invention of the charitable Sausage Sizzle, and this time it was for the volunteer fire fighters in Darradup, who around here save lives and houses all too regularly.
As we bought our hotdogs and I handed over a decent donation from all of you guys, (I even got a hug thrown in!) I did think how much easier this was. It made me feel good, they were so appreciative and what they do is truly heroic. But were they more deserving just because it was less confronting? As I looked back to Freddie's meal and now my own I was all too aware of how society has shaped me. How it has shaped all of us. I wondered at why I started this in the first place and the idea of giving with no expectation of anything in return. Of our belief somehow that when we give, we give with a moral expectation attached. Don't go getting drunk Freddie, our kindness should be appreciated. But it doesn't matter what Freddie does, anymore than what we all do in the privacy of our own homes. When we eat take-away while the gym membership given as a Christmas gift is ignored. Freddie doesn't have that privacy.
And so as August rolls on with rain pelting at my window again, I wonder at this extraordinary thing, when I asked a bunch of friends and perfect strangers to come on this adventure and you all did. Thank you. Again and again, because it's taking me on a fascinating ride.
Thank you 12 Dollar Club. xx