Sharing is a hot topic for more reasons than Christmas.
A walking buddy decided her husband’s drinking had reached problematic proportion. She was no longer willing to share a life with alcohol.
“He changes from a generous and loving husband into an argumentative, self-centered galoot!” she said as we walked our four mile route.
Fortunately, with two houses, each could live in their own home. “I’ve told him I’ll only consider reconciliation if he gets help. After a year of not drinking and working on himself, we can see if we want to share life again.”
What a refreshing change to hear a woman stand her ground. “I’m not going to wimp into the victim mode! Not only is that ugly, it means I would be enabling him. I love him too much to keep doing that. Better I risk losing his love than have the risk of me hating the father of my child.”
“How are you feeling about living alone after all this time?” I asked.
“I plan to get a roommate…not that I want one, but to share expenses. Any suggestions for finding a good roommate?”
“I used an approach, many years ago, that turned out well. The potential roomie and I wrote the five things we hated most about having a roommate. We discussed the list with each other which was easy because it wasn’t personal. It saved a lot of time and hurt feelings.”
“Oh, I know what would be on the top of my ‘hate list’,” my walking buddy said. “I hate clutter. I want nothing on any of my counters, credenzas, dressers… nothing!”
“Oh oh!” I said, thinking of the gifts from other people sprinkled liberally about my home. “Good thing I’m not a candidate. But then I hate anything sitting in the sink. I emptied too many sinks of smelly dishes as a teenager.”
It’s easy to overlook our own clutter. I entered my house with new eyes after our walk. As I bent down to unlace my runners, I looked at the bottom shelf of a wall unit in the office. It was crammed with 30 or more pairs of shoes. Some of them were stacked three deep – obviously not worn in years. Casual and dressy, most were suitable for island terrain.
‘This shoe pit needs to be shared’ I thought.
I found a large bag and shoe-horned leathery friends past fetish and fear: What if I need this exact pair one day? The operation was surprisingly easy until the unique pair of lime-green, soft suede loafers, worn four times in our rugged terrain had to go into the bag. The left one had always been a tad short.
Once the large bag was filled I tied it quickly. I put it in the back of my car, fighting the temptation to double back and recover.
Over twenty pairs of shoes, all in good shape, rode with me for two weeks. Several times, I drove by the main park where the homeless congregate nightly and drug deals slip through shaking fingers before sunrise. At the crack of noon, when I normally drove by, only our citizenry were there enjoying the harbour playground. I searched for street regulars, but none emerged.
Suddenly, I saw an islander who is a colorful Peter Pan. Many of his friends, gentle and humble, live off the land. He was just hauling his cotton-clad, flowy self into his multi-modelled panel truck of variegated markings.
Opening the passengar door, I said, “Do you know any people who could use some shoes?”
As he rearranged dusty toys “velcroed” to his dash, he said, “Are they quality shoes?”
“Why? Would your friends want to sell them?”
“No, it’s just that my friends have really good taste…” I saw the twinkle in his eye. “Jurgen might be interested. He’s a wardrobe artist.”
As usual, Peter Pan only wanted to play. Jurgen’s grooming habits required considerable attention. “I’ll watch for him!” We both laughed as I closed his truck door.
The weather was turning colder. I decided to follow the suggestion of a friend. I went to a tinier park where the homeless held court during warmer days. I drove there and found no one around. I wrote a message, “Please help yourself to some shoes and give the others away.” I then placed the bag under a pile of stones set up as benches and tables.
Days pass and the homeless are invisible. Hopefully a shelter has been opened, but I’m sorry to pass the empty park regularly and see the untouched bag of shoes under the stonework. Soon I may have to retrieve the bag and take the contents to the Thrift Shop if I can’t find the shelter.
As I wait, I think about sharing. Whether wanting to share Love, life, or shoes, I need to accept that my timing is not always in concert with others! Just because my heart is full of generosity, what I have to give is not always able to be accepted. Sometimes it seems not good enough. Sometimes a recipient isn’t available. Or, maybe the gift has to be given differently.
I watch my walking partner. She knows that sharing may mean sharing a problem and waiting a long stretch without knowing the outcome. She suits up and risks it anyway.
Maybe she needs those suede loafers…