Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Your Station in life
A number of years back (actually, it was when I was expecting Miss Calamity), some friends came to us and asked Sir Knight to consider hiring a woman who lived with them that originally hailed from Honduras. She (along with her three year old daughter) was displaced due to Hurricane Mitch and, through various circumstances, ended up at our friend's front door. They had taken her and her child in, provided them with food and shelter and where helping them through the mire of emigrating to a new country, but they really needed a break. They were requesting that we hire her a day or two a week to perform general housekeeping duties.
I rebelled! I didn't want a housekeeper. I was in charge of my household, thank you very much, and I didn't want anyone else invading my space. Besides, only useless, wealthy people had housekeepers, not homesteaders with a limited budget!
Sir Knight and I discussed the situation at length. The reasons for hiring this young woman were many. It would provide our dear friends with two evenings a week that they could have dinner as a family without guests. It would provide them with two days a week that they were free to take care of family business without interruption. But most importantly, if would give them a break.
Sir Knight thought it would be a wonderful opportunity, not only to give our friends respite, but also to lessen the workload for his very pregnant wife. Still, I had a hard time with the concept. I had a hard time, that is, until I thought of my Great-Grandmother.
My Great-Grandmother was a lady of station (my Great-Grandfather was an accountant) in Seattle during the Great Depression. They employed help (for kitchen duties, along with sometimes being a Nurse for my Grandpa and my Great-Aunt). The Great Depression brought reduced circumstances, even to my financially comfortable Great-Grandparents. The logical solution to their economic distress would have been to let their help go, but that is not what my grandparent did. You see, they believed that their station in life dictate that they help those in greater need than themselves. Rather than let their household help go, my Great-Grandmother, along with her little boy (my grandpa) scoured the hills and vales in the Capital Hill section of Seattle picking the plentiful blackberries that grow there with wild abandon. Pails in hand, they dirtied their hands with berry juice and blood, with the intent purpose of providing for their hired help. My Grandmother would take the berries home, wash and pick through them, package them attractively in pails, put her best gloves on and take the berries to the local bakeries. These bakeries would buy the berries for their pies, and my Great-Grandmother would use the money she earned, to pay her hired help. It was her duty. It was her station.
As I thought about hiring this young lady from Honduras, I realized that it was my duty. It was my station that dictated that I help provide for someone less fortunate. It was the right decision. Mary, as our housemaid was called, was a wonder. She was sweet lady, with a great desire to please. She was eager to learn all she could about life in America and was a willing student of our culture. Amazingly, she saved every cent that we paid her (which wasn't much, believe me!) and sent it home to her mother and father. She sent the money with specific instructions. Her father was to build a house with a CEMENT floor (only the very wealthy had a cement floor) and buy chickens. Not for eating, mind you, but for egg production. She wanted her parents to have a viable business, that would see them through the hard times, and she wanted them to have hygienic living conditions. And all of that, she provided with a few dollars from us! Isn't that amazing?
As Christians or preppers or Shoestring Survivalists or whatever you want to call us, we have a station in life. We have a duty. Charity is non-optional. We must plan and prepare for those less fortunate than ourselves. We don't get to say "I told you so" or "you got what you had coming". Because our eyes have been opened, we get to rise to the occasion. We may have to get our hands dirty. We may have to go without or work extra hard to provide for those of reduced circumstances, but, as human beings, it is our station in life. When the financial collapse comes, it will be us, not the government that must stand in the gap. It will be our chance. It will be our duty. It will be our station.