Give me money!!

There are thousands of people who are asking for money online. And there are thousands of people willing to give money. I need money, but I am not going to post my need and expect a bunch of strangers to fund me.

I know there are a lot of scams, so that is probably largely why I dislike of these sites. But beyond that, these sites make me angry.

To me it just seems preposterous to expect strangers to give you money. I think asking is one thing, but if you post it to a site there is an expectation of getting money. Maybe that’s what gets me mad–there seems to be a sense of entitlement about each person’s particular “need.” What makes one person’s “need” more important than another’s? And are these “needs” or simply desires or wants? When is asking strangers for money ok?

I need help from time to time–and have received help from people who know me or people who provide services within communities for people who strumble upon hard times, so I understand need. I have likewise given money to people on numerous occasions, so I understand giving.

I would love to hear what people think about sites like gofundme or indiegogo. Don’t tell me “it’s wonderful for people to give.” I do think that’s true. However, I am more interested in hearing whether these sites also make you angry and why. I want to understand why these sites bother me so much. It seems I should be saying things like “these sites show people are giving” or “they restore my faith in humanity,” but I’m just not feeling it. Why??

Caring for our Pets: When is enough enough?

I want to start out by saying that I had a cat for whom I probably paid $10,000 (maybe far more?) in vet bills during the ten years I had him. He was chronically (though not terminally) ill with bladder issues. Finally, intestinal cancer killed him last year when he was not quite 11 years old. I paid $1,200 for the surgery to diagnose his cancer. I would likely do it again–for HIM (not for just any cat)–because we didn’t know what was wrong. I then had to put him down less than two weeks following that expensive surgery. Sneakers was an amazing cat, though–sweet, gentle, cuddly, friendly.

So by now, some of you are questioning my decision to pay $1,200 for a cat who was dying while other readers are dismayed that I didn’t take it further and try to cure his cancer (stage 5 Lymphoma). Further, I may sound callous when I say “not for just any cat.” Don’t all cats deserve the best possible treatment and chance at life? As an obvious cat lover, I am wrestling with this.

I know someone who is raising money for a cat she has been told has days to live. I am writing this post because I feel so unsettled with myself for disagreeing with her decision. She is raising money on one of those Internet sites. (I have a lot of issues with those, but I’ll save that for another post.) But are all these donations ($4,000 plus and growing by the minute) enabling her to hold onto a beloved pet longer than she should? Is the cat suffering? There are vets out there willing to give life-saving treatment at incomprehensible cost. But are those veterinarians acting out of the best interest of the animal, the owner, or themselves? Some of the vet specialists are obviously only going to stay in business if pet parents are willing to pay outrageous amounts to save their “babies.”

And mind you, I am one of the sappiest when it comes to animals–I have three “fur-babies” that I refer to as my kids. I understand! I get it, which again is why I feel so unsettled about not applauding her for the extreme efforts she is taking. Do my feelings say something about me? Am I cynical because I couldn’t save Sneakers? On the other hand, following his loss, I could provide two other kitties with “fur-ever” homes. There are thousands (millions?) of homeless cats! I still miss Sneakers everyday, but it was his time. The best advice a friend offered was: “Don’t let him suffer–he has been too good to you.”

When I was faced with almost needing to put my 13-year-old cat down six months ago, on a particular social media site I will leave unnamed, I faced such tremendous opposition for even considering euthanasia. I am wondering whether there is a bigger issue that goes beyond caring for our beloved pets—-are we as a society having issues with letting go? We keep finding ways for humans to live longer and longer despite the quality of their lives. We are so resistant to legalizing physician-assisted suicide. Do we simply not know how to determine when enough is enough?

 

Catholic Memories

I covered a story for the newspaper today at The National Shrine of Our Lady of Czestochowa, so this, of course, caused me to reflect again on my Catholic upbringing, and mostly on my father who took me to church every week. I remember covering an event here eight or nine years ago while my father was still alive. I had bought him a little vile of “holy water.” I visited the gift shop today but no longer have him to buy for. This Saturday will mark the 5-year anniversary of his passing. After visiting this shrine the first time, I had always intended to take my father there for a visit. He would have not only loved all the Catholic-ness about it, but he would have enjoyed the ride as it is in a fairly rural area (considering it is approx. 30 miles outside the Philadelphia line). I was stunned to see it cost $4.00 to light a candle. I believe as a teenager, when I visited churches in Baltimore City to light candles, it costs about a quarter. As I was leaving, there was a hearse parked in front with a long line of cars adorned with “funeral flags” behind it. I tried not to look, to think, or feel. I was working after all. But as I drove past the line of mourners, still sitting in their vehicles, I felt I wanted to shout condolences out the window. ¬†Death sucks. Even five years later.

“Waiting” Reflections

It seems we spend an inordinate part of our lives waiting. And I don’t mean waiting in line, waiting for water to boil, or waiting for a traffic light. I mean waiting for something to happen. I studied the poem, “Waiting,” (previous post) as an undergraduate 25 years ago, and I often think of it. I worry about how much we are waiting for in life: waiting for Friday, waiting for the weekend, waiting for vacation, waiting for spring break, waiting for marriage, waiting for children, waiting for grandchildren . . . . Are we ever REALLY present?

My life also includes waiting for the next semester, the next class, the next newspaper assignment. And then for the semester to end, for the story to be filed. This poem questions whether we are actually waiting or are we hiding. It does beg the question as to what we are doing WHIIE we are waiting. Working? It seems we are working and that is why we are waiting for Friday or waiting for that time off. I LOVE both my jobs, but still I get caught up in the waiting game.

So if we aren’t actually waiting but hiding, what are we hiding from? Who are we hiding from? This poem says, “maybe . . . someone is here with me now.” The speaker (in the poem) doesn’t know whether someone is WITH him/her? How is that possible? Well, how often do we take people for granted, ignore them, not listen to them, not appreciate them? How often do we hide from them?

The poem ends with “Maybe I’m already holding everyone in my arms / I’ll ever love, or know, or be.” What if THIS is IT?? All I’ll ever be–what if I don’t achieve, acquire, or accumulate more than I have right this very minute? Is that ok? But still I wait, I wait, and I wait. What am I waiting for? And what is the opposite of waiting?

“Waiting” by Richard Jones

“I’ve been waiting here so long

I’ve forgotten what it is I’m waiting for.

I’ve forgotten why I wait by the window

watching the road and listening.

 

Maybe someone’s come already?

Maybe I hid in my room

when I heard the footsteps?

Maybe I’m not waiting, but hiding?

 

Or maybe it’s impossible to hide

and someone is here with me now.

Maybe I’m already holding everyone in my arms

I’ll ever love, or know, or be. “

 

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