From a young age, I've often heard the phrase mine is not to question why, mine is but to do or die.
I now know it's a line from a long-ago poem by Alfred Lord Tennyson (poet laureate), entitled The Charge of the Light Brigade. It's a poem reflecting a brutal moment in the 1854 Battle of Balaclava during the Crimean War - the charge of the British Cavalry against Russian forces. The order to charge involved mis-communication of orders, coupled with dislike between the leader of the cavalry and the overall commander, who were also brothers-in-law. The Light Brigade was virtually annihilated that day.
Ok, that was your history lesson. Yeah! I had to look it up! That phrase came to mind again this morning. It surfaced after reading a statement relating specifically to judging others by appearance and actions. It is difficult not to. Afterall, when you consider the attributes and/or history (ie rap sheet) attached to the latest news story, you do, over time, become more cautious.
When you see someone handing over food stamps with a perfect manicure and "do", talking on a government issued phone, and then loading their groceries into a Cadillac ... you do question the system. When you know someone who is capable of working, yet won't look for a job because their unemployment check is more or equal to the amount of the last paycheck they received on the job ... you wonder.
When you see a homeless person sleeping on a sheet of cardboard on the sidewalk and it's obvious they need help but have only the soup kitchen and shelter to fall back on ... you wonder. When you see the couple standing on the corner of a busy intersection for the third day in a row ... you wonder.
When you're volunteering after a local disaster and you learn a particular group has been donation hopping around town picking up from the local food bank, the Red Cross relief stations, the Salvation Army and several churches all in one day ... you wonder. You do. I did.
Unfortunately, quite often all those scenarios get lumped into one without regard for the real need. There are many who need temporary or long-term help. And, unfortunately there are many that have a strong inbred sense of entitlement who have made a fine art of abusing a system with very little checks and balances.
We wish we had the power to pull back the curtain and see what's really going on before we reach out a helping hand. We can't. This brings me back full circle to the phrase. Mine is not to question why, mine is but to do or die. Die? Surely, we won't die. (I've read that one somewhere!). There are more ways to die, than physical death. When your heart becomes stone cold. When your thoughts or words become a blanket judgment over everyone in the system, or doesn't qualify or simply fell thru the cracks. When you just don't want to hear anymore about it. When you stop listening to that still small voice telling you to lend a hand. A hardened heart is a miserable heart.
I'm no Mother Teresa. I've turned people away. People I personally know have abused the system ... who have also abused the generosity of our family. Discernment must come into play at some point. Discernment vs. judgment. Helping vs. enabling. Motives. Conscience. Faith. Grace. Heartstrings.
Thanks SNV for the view into your heart and head. ♥