This post has been sitting on my mind for a few days now. I’ve never cared much about my reputation. I know who I am. I know my faults, and I own my faults. Even thinking of pretending to be perfect is exhausting to me. But recently, at least two people questioned my character. I’m not going to sit here and type that I have never once in my life done wrong. I have. I do. Darned near every day I do something that I am ashamed of. I am human. But when I am wrong, I do try to apologize and make that right.
There is at least one thing that I refused to apologize for, because I would have done it all over again. Was I wrong? Yes, someone got hurt. But, I can’t say I wouldn’t do it again, because I would. Am I proud of it? No, but it was a situation that didn’t need to happen and the two people I would sacrifice my character for were hurting, so I did. I’m not getting anymore direct than that. The ones who it affected know and possibly understood my point of view in the end.
Recently I was told I should have “played the system” for insurance for Jamey. That we wouldn’t be in the situation we are now.
Yes, I could have. I know how. I’ve seen how it’s done. But that’s not me. Not only would I have had to lie and pray every day that we weren’t caught, but the boys would have seen it. I can’t raise honest, compassionate kids who are responsible with a decent work ethic, if they think they can lie their way through life. And although we are working on that work ethic, I do have some fantastic kids who can be proud of what they are achieving in life. And if I had lied, how would I look THEM in the eyes? How would I be able to look at others and hold my head up? They may have never found out, but I would know.
Yes, we lost everything. Yes, it’s going to be a while longer before I can afford to pay rent. Yes, my life could be a lot easier. But at what cost? The lies could eat away at the bonds between my children and I, between my husband and I. We would worry about his employer, who is a fine, upstanding man, finding out which would hurt Jim in his eyes. My closest friends would probably understand, but it would always be at the back of their minds. Jamey was 16 when we figured out that this would be a long term issue. By then, most everything was already gone. I don’t regret holding on to the one part where I could hold my head up high.
Not being able to afford things is already embarrassing. Asking for help is degrading. But at least I could always say I was doing my best in an awful situation. The system is there for those who need it, and yes, it would be a blessing if we qualified. But not by lies. Not at the risk of my marriage. Not at the risk of my children. I won’t skew things in my favor in order to get around the rules. That’s just not who I am.
I was recently asked “How many poor people have you helped?”. My answer is none. At least not financially, for a very long time. And the answer to “How many people have I helped?” is that I don’t brag. You will never see a post about me doing something for so n so out of the kindness of my heart. I don’t feel the bragging really is a kindness. Yes I will do the act, no, I won’t tell you about it. I hope that makes sense.
We are social beings. No matter how independent we try to be, at some point in life, we all need a little help. I’m not the type to allow a hurt child to walk home alone or let someone carry a load too heavy alone, but I’m also not going to boast about it to anyone else. I don’t play the “I’m better than you” game. And I don’t need 30-40 likes on FaceBook to tell me that I did the right thing. The only person I need to be better than, is myself from yesterday. So, I honestly can’t tell you how many people I have helped, I don’t keep track and there are no score cards. Does that make me better than anyone else? The fact of the matter is, I don’t care. I’m not trying to be.