Archive for the ‘Community’ Category

Volunteer Work

“Few things help an individual more than to place responsibility upon him, and to let him know that you trust him.” (Booker T. Washington)

Spirits thrive in the dirt

Volunteers starting the Bok Choy garden together.

Beautiful Rainbow Chard is thriving.  We harvested the large outer leaves this week.  Our bed of lettuce and carrots are coming along well and the Bok Choy is gorgeous!  I’ve never grown or seen Bok Choy growing before, so it’s exciting. 

I have a special affinity for the Bok Choy.  Transplanting the tender babies into larger pots was the first vegetable we planted when my son and I started volunteering in the horticulture therapy program.

Participating in the group is fun and therapeutic.  I like being around and working with the other volunteers and enjoy the little things I become aware of, either during our activities or after I get home and have time for reflection.

Watering the gardens throughout the week, which I recently enthusiastically agreed to do, with help from my son, is rewarding in several ways.

The plants, especially the ones in containers and young crops need water.  I need something to do outside my personal life.  The responsibility makes me feel proud, gets me away from the challenges and hardships I’m experiencing and, the work brings immediate visible positive results.

“Sometimes you can feel the plants take a fresh breath of air after you give them some space and water,” the horticulture therapist remarked after we recently transplanted several leggy tomato plants.

I hadn’t wanted to work with those plants on that day.  It was cloudy, damp and a little chilly outside.  I was sleepy and tired.  I’d wanted to stay inside the big open educational room and make something out of dried herbs or take cuttings from the scented Geranium. 

I’m not sure of the moment when my lack of enthusiasm changed, but I soon became engaged with the plants and other volunteers in the group.  I enjoyed helping a young man continue the project after a plant broke when he had taken it out of the pot.  Helping him felt good, but I think it was after we were finished and I looked at the plants that I realized how my frame of mind and mood had greatly improved. 

I was moved, literally, to walk closer to the tomato plants.  They looked so happy!  I wanted to touch them.  It was a good feeling.

My son tells me he loves the group and it’s clear to me that he benefits from it, as well as from the time when we go on our own to water.  

“This makes me happy,” he told me the other day, while watering the lettuce and carrot bed.  Our day together had been terribly challenging.  We were not happy campers.  We almost didn’t make it that day, but we both knew that going would help us.  Plus, we knew the dirt was dry and the plants needed people to water them.  We got there just in time before the gates closed.

Seeing my son smile and hearing him say he’s happy is a sign of wellness, even if it’s brief in our notion of time.  This piece of time gives me hope.

The natural positive effects of working with plants is healing to our mind and body.  Having a sense of belonging and an awareness that we have something meaningful to offer a community is big medicine.  I strongly suspect that having more days filled with meaningful and rewarding work could reduce symptoms of ‘mental illness’ and heal wounded spirits. 

It’s hard to know whose on the receiving end of our time volunteering.  I know I’ve said this before in my earlier posts about our Green Healing days, but I am truly grateful for this opportunity.

Thank you for visiting Dogkisses’s blog!  Please feel free to leave a comment.

 

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Kreativ Blogger Award

I love it! My thanks to Dorkydeb.com

A sweet award!

My thanks to DorkyDeb.com for this very nice gift.

The blogging community is one I’m proud to be a part of for several reasons, the best of which, I guess, is that I have a sense of belonging.  I could say the best reason is because I’m among many bright, intelligent, generous and genuinely caring people, some of whom I’ve become friends with, because that’s true, but if I didn’t feel like I belonged, then I probably wouldn’t be here blogging.

For a long time, I wrote silently in my journal, always wishing that one day I’d be able to write a book, or maybe newspaper articles, (or anything for that matter) and that somebody would want to read what I wrote.  And then I discovered blogging, rather accidentally.  I saw the Publish button and thought how cool is that!

The first comment I received was from a woman who told me that my home page wasn’t configured properly.  This is important for a blog.  I didn’t realize at the time that this sort of unconditional thoughtfulness would be an ongoing theme in the blogosphere.

What does this have to do with my having received the Kreativ Blogger Award?  I’ll try to tell you.

It’s about belonging, being heard, being acknowledged, being appreciated, and hoping that I’ve been able to add something of value to a wonderful and inspiring community of people from all across the world.

Now, of course, with an award, there are rules. 

1. Thank the blogger who presented you with the award.

Again, Thank you Deb! I love your blog.

2. Post a photo of the award.

Hope you can see the pretty award above.

3. Share ten things about yourself that readers don’t know.

I don’t know what all you know, but here goes.

1. I don’t know enough about computers to be operating one, but I do it anyway.

2. I have a hard time relaxing.

3. My Dad raised Beagles.

4. I wish I could live my life closer to the land.

5. My heart is broken in several places.

6. I’m scared a lot.

7. I don’t feel as strong as people say I am.

8. I believe humans have the potential to make the world a better place.

9. I feel the energy of thoughts.

10. I would not vote for any of the Republican Presidential Candidates, even if I was a Republican.

3. Present this award to six bloggers.

1. Ash, @Wolfdreams –Ash is a talented writer. She has experience in medicine, from the patient’s perspective, along with having done years worth of reading and research. As a result, Wolfdreams is a resourceful health blog for people suffering from chronic illness, or for family members who would like to better understand and relate to an ill relative. Ash has other areas of interest that she writes about too. Go visit 🙂

2. Laurie @Hibernationnow –It’s about life, with some poetry. Go visit 🙂

3. Sue Dreamwalker @Dreamwalker’s Sanctuary –Definitely a Kreativ place to visit! Full of art, stories, inspiring blog posts, and all sorts of surprises! Go visit 🙂

4. John Byran-Hopkins @foodimentary.com –A very cool blog! Awesome photos and interesting posts about food history. Go visit 🙂

5. Leslie Sigal Javorek @IconDoIt, the blog! –A talented artist and writer! IconDoIt offers free icons, clip-art, and a fun-filled history behind her images. Go visit 🙂

6. Ediblesubstance (A foodie’s thoughts) –A fun blog with great photos and awesome recipes. Check out the post with photos of edible dresses. Very cool! Go visit 🙂

As always, I enjoyed accepting this award.  I hope the bloggers I chose enjoy it as well, and that you may pop over and take a look at the blogs.

Thanks for visiting Dogkisses’s blog!

Food, Sharing and Connection

Sharing meals is good for the body and soul

Shared Meal

Image Credit: Quinn Dombrowski via Flickr

 

I’ve developed a relationship with raw beets.  I’m not in love, at least not yet, but who knows?  Almost anything is possible.  I never imagined myself regularly eating beets, but I am. 

The goal is to eat one beet a day, raw, which I wrote about in an earlier post.

It’s not as hard to eat beets, as it is to take the time to prepare food and eat it.  I forget, but I’m getting better at remembering.  Having an appetite helps.

I baked a chicken yesterday.  I used coconut oil, which is another new addition to my diet, added some onions and garlic, along with a bit of sage that a friend gave me just the other day.   The whole day smelled of good food.  It was calming and reassuring. 

Later in the evening, I realized how little I had actually eaten earlier. Hunger struck me.  I was tired.  My son however was up.  He quickly made me a sandwich.  I think he enjoys the act of handing me a plate of food.  It is rather like a sacred moment when the plate passes from his hands to mine.

There was more to that sandwich than the physical nutrition.  I could feel the energy when I took the first bite.  It made me feel alive.  The images of my having prepared it flooded my mind, along with the way I had felt in the process.   Knowing I had helped prepare the food that was waiting for my son to make me that sandwich was pretty cool too.  There was love in that chicken!

My relationship with food has been difficult for a long time.  Eating has been a challenge.  It hasn’t always been that way.  I used to love food and eating it too.

In my thirties, I experienced a personal interruption in this essential part of living.  At first, I found myself not eating at particular meal times, with a particular person.  Eventually, I realized after losing weight without trying, along with parting ways with the person who bothered me so much that I couldn’t eat around him, that the reasons behind my abstinence from food ran deeper than my feelings about that relationship.

Memories of my grandmother’s modest but lovely dinner table started to frequently occupy my thoughts.  I remembered the good feeling of coming together for meals.  No matter what was going on, we sat down to eat at the same time every day.   I deeply desired that sense of connection to family and I guess, in a more expansive way, to community and our planet. 

I’ve talked to psychologists from time to time about the problem of not always being able to eat.   They basically each said the same thing, which was that they had never known anyone with the same reasons as I had for not eating. 

The most interesting approach to solve the problem was to write the benefits of eating.  I was seeing a fourth year resident at the medical school.  He was very bright and open-minded.

The best benefit of eating that I could come up with was that food would give me energy to walk my dogs.  In a daily journal, I recorded meals and checked off subsequent dog walks.  This helped for a while, but my problem didn’t go away.

When you lose the desire to eat and don’t get it back, something is wrong.  I learned in therapy why I chose not to eat at particular times, but a later tick borne illness added a new dimension to my relationship with food.  Nausea and other symptoms of post-infectious disease syndrome causes a loss of appetite.

I eventually met a therapist who had also studied anthropology.  She helped me understand an important part of my dilemma, which seemed simply about being human.

With time, especially as my son grew older and later moved out, I learned that I really don’t like eating alone.  I need a connection at mealtime.  I need other people. 

Having my son around to share meals with is a blessing.  I think I’m getting stronger too.  I hope he is.  He’s learned a lot about cooking.  

We need a cow bell, but for now, the wonderful aromas coming from my kitchen will do.

Thank you for visiting Dogkisses’s blog.

Words and Perception

A moving video about how words change our perception. 

Thank you for visiting Dogkisses’s blog.  Feel free to leave your thoughts.  Have a blessed day and pass it on…

Mental illness, it could be you

shadows of the past may come alive to help us be better people

“Hi,” the woman said shyly.  “I’m calling about a butterfly garden.  I saw your ad in the paper.”

More than a decade has gone by since I received that phone call.  I still remember how I felt.

“I live on a fixed income due to a disability,” the woman added.  “I was wondering if I could get a small butterfly garden and how much that would cost.”

I remember how I felt then, but the way I feel now is much more powerful.  I feel terrible about the way I handled that call.

The woman told me where she lived.  I had heard of the place, but didn’t know much about it.  I knew only that the people who lived there had some type of mental problems.

I talked with my gardening mentor who encouraged me to go see the woman.  I wish I had taken his advice.  I can’t remember who else I consulted with, but I was most certainly influenced in the other direction.

The woman called several times telling me how much she loved butterflies.  I told her the price for a small garden.  She explained that she received her check each month and asked if she could make monthly payments.

People said things like, “those people who live there are crazy,” and I vaguely recall one person telling me that I would be making a mistake to get involved with someone like that.  I concluded that the woman wouldn’t be able to pay like she said she would.  I assumed several things that today I am not proud of.   I chose not to meet with her.

As I write, I really can’t believe that was me.

I wasn’t going to write about this memory when I began this post, which is one of my many challenges in writing.  I’ll start a story or some type of tale and the next thing I know, I’ll be back in time, ten or twenty years into my past.

I wanted to tell you about my dream of creating a healing garden for people fighting and living with mental illness.  A place for healing and community to happen.

I wanted to tell you about an outdoor bed of hay framed with sunflowers and chocolate cosmos laced around the pillow shams.

Sometimes the past meets the present and I get lost somewhere in the middle.

The apartments where the woman lived is a thriving community today, as it was when she called me all those years ago, back when life was much easier for me.  Back when I thought the problems those people had would never be ones I would face.  Oh no!  Not me or my family.

I was terribly wrong and completely ignorant.

Mental illness doesn’t discriminate.  It can strike any person, any family and in any place.

Ten years after I turned down the woman’s beautiful and brave request, I found myself at the same apartment building where she had wanted her little butterfly garden.

I was there applying for my adult son to get an apartment in that community.

I had forgotten about that phone call until one day when I went to visit my son there.  Several of his neighbors came outside.  We walked around the building together finding many places where we could plant, of all things, a butterfly garden.  The memory slapped me in the face.

I realized that my son was one of those people.

My bright intelligent son who had superior verbal skills by age three, was a good student other than talking too much from being bored, was in a grand way always enthusiastic about life, winning school awards in science and later in kayaking, was struck with a mental illness.

Today, I am a woman who must sometimes say, “I live on a fixed income due to a disability.”  

Today, I realize, I am one of those people too.

Turns out we are all the same and always were.  The differences I imagined came from cultured misconceptions of immunity derived from ignorance and stigma.

Thank you for visiting my blog,

dogkisses.


Maintaining power

quitclaim, by IconDoIt

“You can’t maintain,” the social worker said.

“I thought you helped people who couldn’t maintain,” I responded, knowing my words were futile.

I regret going to the social services yesterday.  I felt good when I woke up.  I had some energy and a smile to go with it.  I took a shower and put on something I enjoyed wearing which I think was a mistake.

I wore a pair of blue jeans.  Maybe it was because they were Capri length and not the faded and lately, baggy, jeans I usually wear.  I can’t recall which blouse I wore but I remember wearing a necklace and earrings.  I need a hair cut so I used hairspray to keep my bangs out of my eyes, which I don’t like using.  Hairspray makes my hair sticky or stiff and I’ve never liked it.

I’ve been so stressed lately that I can’t find things, like my hair clasps I would have worn instead of using spray.  Maybe my hair looked too stylish since it was all puffed up.

I wonder if I looked too nice to be a good candidate for assistance with a large power bill — assistance that she said was available and that I qualify for.

I told her I had been sick but she gave me a weird look.  The kind of look that implies she did not believe me.  I told her I have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia but she didn’t respond.

“I’m filling in because everyone is in court,” the woman told me, which I thought was kind of odd.   Every social worker in the entire county were all at court at the same time.

“I’ll take the application and when the social worker returns I’ll give it to her,” she said.  Her next remark surprised me. “You should be aware though that if someone comes in before she gets back and ask for the same help they may get the funds instead of you.”

“But I’ve just applied,” I asked,  “what do you mean?”

“Because you’ve stated that you don’t have the funds to pay the remainder of what we can’t help you with,” she said as she kept on typing.  “If someone comes in asking and they say they can pay what we can’t pay then we will give them these funds.”

“I will pay the remainder,” I told her, “even if I have to put it on a credit card.”

The social services say that it is okay for a person who lives on a low fixed income to have a credit card.  I’ve only used mine a couple of times.  I’ve used it for a car repair, one $40.00 trip to the dentist, and once at the grocery store.  I told her I had made a $25.00 payment on it this month.

“Using your credit card to pay would only put you in the hole more,” she remarked.

Duh!

“Yes, I realize that,” I said politely.  “I’ll use my credit card to pay before I let them shut off my power service.  Wouldn’t you?” I asked her.

“Yes,” she answered.  We made eye contact.  For a moment I thought that maybe she understood the position I was in.

The department of social services also allows a cell phone and cable vision as an expense, the latter of which I’ve never had, not in my entire life.  My cell phone however has been a lifeline when my son has been in a crisis or a hospital.

Once he got lost and literally ended up in the middle of our country.  He was on that list of people who have a mental illness and are missing.  My mom came here to answer the phone if he called, while I was in the mountains with detectives searching the woods where we thought my son may have camped before getting into a van with a man who took him all the way to Illinois, a long way from North Carolina.

My son called home from a phone booth but he didn’t know where he was.  The driver of the van had abandoned him because he said my son did not cooperate by not panhandling in the parking lots of Walmart, which is apparently a common practice for some people.  They travel the country and not only panhandle in Walmart parking lots but they sleep there too.  Apparently both are legal.

My mom was as stressed as I was and failed to get proper information from my son when he called.  She called me on my cell phone but all she knew was that he said he was at a Kroger grocery store.  She did not know which state he was in.  She was able to dial *69 and get a number.  The detectives I was with helped locate the number.  We called the police there and they found my son.  I wired the officer money to buy my son a bus ticket.  He arrived home two days later.

I wonder how many psychiatrists I’ve spoken to over that cell phone throughout the past eight years while I’ve been an advocate for my son?  I bet if I had one dollar for every one I’ve talked to I’d have enough money to pay my power bill.

I use the cell phone for my own doctors and nurses too.  Anyone who lives with a chronic illness might well know that if you leave messages for doctors and nurses, you really need to be available when they return your calls.  My cell phone has been pretty important.

Without the cell phone I’d be at that phone booth and I can’t recall what state I was in when I took this picture.  Phone booths are hard to come by.

I think if cable vision is counted as an expense, then a person ought to be able to choose between that and an internet connection.  It also seems like an internet connection would be more useful than cable vision to families with children in school who need access to do homework.

I don’t know what our social services thinks about people with disabilities having an internet connection.  They seem to think cable-vision is more important and it cost a lot more, so this doesn’t make sense to me.  I’ve learned through experience that an internet connection for me is a lifeline, which cost me about twenty dollars per month, a lot less than cable.

I don’t have a car payment, thank goodness, but I have repairs.   Social Services will allow for repairs but won’t let me use the expenses I’ve incurred because I put it on my credit card.    Even though they allow a person asking for one-time assistance to have a credit card, they don’t include the monthly payments in expenses.  Go figure.

“I will find the remaining funds if you can help me and I need for you to tell the social worker this when she returns,” I told the woman taking the application.

“We have at least one hundred dollars we can pay towards your bill and possibly two hundred,” she said looking at the computer.

“That would be very helpful,” I said.  “Even if it is one hundred dollars, I’ll pay the remainder.”

I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve asked social services for help during the seven years I’ve lived here.  Each time has been a difficult experience.  It isn’t swallowing my pride that has been the most difficult part but instead is the things some of the social workers say .  I do remember one time when a social worker helped me without preaching at me or putting me down.  I couldn’t believe it.  She said something like, “Wow, how do you make it each month?”

Exactly I thought!  Exactly.  I’m fairly creative when it comes to, “making it each month.”

Usually they ask, like the woman did several times yesterday, “How did you get in this position?”

I should have said something like, “Well, how much time do you have because it all started about ten years ago.”

The social worker finished the application but she once again asked me the same question that I thought I’d answered at least twice already.

“I just don’t understand.  I’m looking at your expenses and they are less than three hundred dollars.”

“You are forgetting the power bill, which is $255.00,” I reminded her, again.

“Oh.  That’s right.”

Why the hell did she think I was there?

“Yes.  That is almost half of your income,” she reminded herself.  “But you say you can pay if we don’t.”

“Yes, but on a credit card,” I reminded her, again.

I signed the application and left.

I came home and immediately lied down on my sofa.    I’d eaten a piece of string cheese on my way there.  I had felt so well when I woke up I was actually looking forward to coming home and eating lunch.  I had lost my appetite though.  I was depressed from the interaction.  Maybe they would help me though, I thought, so I rested.

My cell phone rang and I knew it was her.

“We can’t help you,” she said immediately.

“Why not?” I asked.

“Well, because you told us you have a way to pay.”

“But you said I had to have a way to pay the remainder to qualify for the help.”

“Well, we still have questions about how you got yourself in this position.”

“I’ve had a power bill that has been over half of my monthly income for three consecutive months,” I reminded her, again.

“You can’t maintain,” she said.

“What?” I asked.

“You can’t maintain.  You’ve been in this position before.  I’m sorry.”

“Well, maybe if I lived in a tent I could maintain,” I told her.  She was starting a sentence when I hung up on her.

I didn’t care if I was rude and I still don’t care.

I don’t need someone reminding me that I’ve found myself in these shoes several times in these past eight years — and most certainly — I will not stand and listen to someone who says it like I’ve committed a crime when that person doesn’t have one suggestion as to preventing this situation in the future.    My apartment is not insulated well and as a result, I pay.

I have maintained! I’ve never had any utility shut off. I’ve also camped enough to know I can live in a tent, which I might do before I would ever ask those people for help again.

I believe if I had dressed differently and lied, although I’m not sure which part I was supposed to lie about, that I would have received the assistance that is there for me.

I have a feeling that the people who get help know what to wear or rather, what not to wear, what to say or not say, and how to act.

An acquaintance of mine called me late yesterday.  She asked how I was doing.  I told her about my experience.  She’s been in my shoes, only not sick, just poor.  She said I should have never told them about the credit card.  She said I should have said I could pay out of my checking account and then they would have helped me.

I  didn’t know the right answers, but the right answers are not the truth.

I know what I would have liked to have said, but I won’t say it here.

Sometimes this world seems harsh. Sometimes, it seems like a hard place to be.

“You can’t maintain.”

For some reason that remark has stuck in my brain.

The thing is, is that I can maintain.  I do maintain and will continue to do so.

 

“Can you spare some change?” he asked a citizen!

The Vancouver Province's solution to troublema...

Image by sillygwailo via Flickr

How dare he ask for change in this great place we live!  A place where we are full of higher education and very busy living our green worthy lives.  How dare he bother us!

Our bags are filled with organic locally grown produce and righteously so.  Our achievements are certainly worth noting — so how dare he ask us for change!

They say he has schizophrenia so he might well, he might kill us!  You don’t know what he might do.  Did you hear in the news about that guy who…

Dial 911!  Tell them we are being harassed by a schizophrenic who is asking for change.  Put him in jail — that will teach him!

“Can you spare some change for a cup of coffee?”  he asked a citizen near the center of the lovely town considered one of the best places in America to live.

He needed fifty-cents more for a cup of coffee.

Most of the people asking for change are kept in one place and it isn’t near that part of town.

The praised area of the lovely town includes the organic market, which is the center of living green; a gathering place for locals, most of whom have a higher education.

Medical professionals, scientists, students and plenty of people with PhD’s in just about every field you can imagine patronize the market and the surrounding shops.

Students, natural healers, and many professed open-minded free-spirited folks are to be reckoned with in this great place, which is what I love about living here.

Since it isn’t illegal to ask for change then a person who asks can instead be charged with other crimes.  Harassment, trespassing and several others that will land him or her in the same jail that holds violent criminals waiting for a life sentence.  But then, I guess,  all county jails are created equal.

I had been sick and my son was not well during this time.  He was however enjoying tutoring sessions via the local literacy council.   The offices are located on the same property as the organic market.

He and his tutor were studying the Cherokee language, the learning of which is by no means an easy attempt.  The tutor didn’t know anything about the language and nobody there seemed to know about the working memory.

One thing was clear.  My son loved the class.  He absolutely loved it.  He talked about it.  He thought about it in between classes.  He was getting a lot out of the class.

He wasn’t even on the property of the market and was on a public sidewalk when he was seen asking for change, but the private security guard didn’t care.  He hadn’t cared a week earlier when I went there and asked him if we could talk.

I thought that the security guard might have some empathy for our situation if I explained to him that my son was not well and that I was trying to get him some help.  I went to see him.

He was nearly unapproachable and it was clear he wasn’t interested in talking to me.  When he did he was very rude.

“My son would like to talk to you,” I said to him.

With a look of contempt he turned towards my son who was standing by the smoking station.  Arrogantly the guard remarked,  “No he doesn’t.”

“Yes, he does,” I repeated.  “He’s waiting over there because he said you told him he could not smoke anywhere else.”

“Well.  Yes he’s right.  I did tell him that.  I’m surprised he listened.”  What a jerk.

My son walked up and held out his hand to shake the guards hand.  The man stood as still as a robot with his arms behind his back.  I wondered if he had been in the military and maybe he thought he still was!  I looked him in the eyes.  A few seconds later he held out his hand to shake my son’s, but when I held mine out he refused.

I have no idea what that man thought of me.  I dress in clean clothes.  I’m pretty clean cut overall.  I mean I don’t stand out or anything.  So why, I wonder, did that man treat me with fear of contagion,  looking at me with total contempt and only staring at my hand when I held it out as I introduced myself.

Who knows what he thought of me –the mother of a son who would ask a citizen for change?

My son apologized to the guard.  He told him he wouldn’t do it again.

I wanted the guard to care.  I wanted him to care that this young man has a mother.  I wanted him to know that I am trying to get help in this community.  I wanted him to care that we are a part of the community.  He did not care about any of that.

He said if he saw my son ask for change again that he would call the police and have my son arrested.

I was having a terrible episode of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.  My son was not well.  His ACT team wouldn’t help so I was doing everything for my son.

A couple of days later, my son made a very poor choice and again, ask someone for change.  I had just talked to him that day and told him I was coming to town to give him some of his money but he didn’t wait.

He was banned for one year from the entire property, which not only includes the market but the grocery store, the drug store, our favorite restaurant where we’ve dined since he was a boy, along with the place where he was being tutored.

I was very angry at him but I also knew he needed professional help and he was not getting any.  None.  No doctor visits.  Nothing.

He was dismissed from the tutoring services a couple of weeks afterward.  The director said they stopped tutoring him because he has memory problems.  I pleaded.  I nearly begged them not too dismiss my son from all services.  I tried to get them to teach him something easier to remember than the Cherokee language.   I asked if it was because of any other reason –(I suspected it was related to him having asked for change) but they said no, that it was because of his memory problems.   I believe they lied.  A memory problem is part of my son’s disability.  The literacy council receives government funding so this doesn’t make sense how they could legally dismiss my son from all services because of his disability.

Why couldn’t his ACT team act?  Why couldn’t we come together and try to solve the issue and help my son?  I asked if we could meet and perhaps go talk to the guard.  Their response was they thought it best to simply leave it alone.  Do nothing.  Not even talk about it.

Why can’t we act like a community who cares not only for people in other countries but about our very own neighbors?

How can we feel so good about living green and doing right by the land and saving all the animals and doing all the zillions of good deeds, while we turn our heads to our own neighbors in need?

We believe, without knowing that someone is helping them.  We believe, without knowing, that our community is set up with services to help people, like my son, who does things we do not find acceptable, such as asking for some spare change.  We believe our tax dollars have secured such services.

I have since made sure that my son has money for coffee, but I do not want to go to that market and shop anymore.

I guess if it was an area where tolerance was not so widely professed then it would be easier to accept the kind of intolerance that seeps out of the pores of the people with power, such as that security guard.

He ought to be keeping his eye out for thieves.  But then, I guess, we often associate a person asking for some change with thieves.  I had told the guard and a friend of his had told him as well that my son is a good guy.  He didn’t care.

I have turned my head plenty times when asked if I could spare some change.  I have judged without knowing anything about the person asking.

I believe this year, in the spirit of Christmas, I will spare some change.