A Lesson In Giving & Hope

December 19, 2010

(ChattahBox Op/Ed News) – Yesterday was a pretty normal day for me save one important experience and one special reminder of why when we can, we do.

While the Senate was doing the right thing on DADT and some members of Congress were complaining that they had to work during the Holidays, I was with my wife, my sister-in-law and my nephew delivering food and gifts to a needy family in Detroit whose name was provided by the church my sister-in-law attends.  This year instead of exchanging gifts on Christmas Eve as we always do with my in-laws, we decided to adopt a family and buy for them instead.

It was the best thing we have even decided as a family.

ChattahBox.com has graciously dedicated itself to the importance of balance in news and information and their ongoing commitment to continue that effort is an important part of the Editor’s vision.  Through these pages we chronicle the wins and losses of the political arena and we offer through commentary and facts ways out of trouble and reminders of the struggle itself.  Yesterday, for me anyway, was a reminder of why I write my daily column and why we must continue to fight for the underserved patriots that live in our communities and fight to survive.

The family we were given to help were gracious and appreciative, let me say that up front.  The kids were excited, but shy and some of them were barely able to peek their heads into the room we were standing in.  None the less, they were excited and grateful for the bounty we provided and it was a special experience to see the happiness we were bringing to a family that has fallen on very hard times.  I’m not entirely sure how this family was chosen and I do not know their entire story either, but what I do know is that the mother of these five children has had to make some hard choices in the last few months.

Her story is not unlike the stories we tell on this site all of the time and the plight of people like her are why the staff here continues with our attempt to hold those who can make a difference to do the right thing.

This woman does work, but has had to take a job making 70% less than she was making.  She has done her best with what she has but it is obvious that when you are only making 30% of what you once did, something has to be sacrificed.  I can tell you that with my own eyes love is not one of the things she has sacrificed, of that I am sure.

Whatever image may come to mind for you, needy families are not all living in squalor.  They are not all living in shelters or in homes with no heat or homes that are ramshackle and dilapidated; although I am sure there are many of those as well.  This family we adopted had a nice home.  A warm home.  A loving home, but also a home devastated by an economy and a country struggling to find its financial balance.  The family living in this home was once self supporting but now no longer is as Mom has to spend nearly her entire paycheck just to make the house payment leaving little extra money for utilities and food.

They are now living on assistance of which Mom is not happy about.  She shared with us that just 18 months ago everything was fine, but no longer.  She shared with us that Dad lost his job nearly three years ago and after not being able to find another he finally left the family to fend for itself as he fled to some point unknown.  It’s a story that all too many families have dealt with over the past five years or so.  It is their reality and she has made the best of this situation until she lost the good job she had because even after 18 years there she was let go and soon thereafter the company closed entirely.

Although we were only there maybe 20 minutes, in that short time we met a woman who was filled with courage and love.  Someone who was humbled but gracious.  Someone who would rather be giving than receiving.  It was a gift to be able to be there for this exchange.  I know we were able to provide them with some pretty cool stuff, a nice variety of food for Christmas dinner, of which one of the kids told us Mom was an excellent cook and he couldn’t wait to eat turkey because for Thanksgiving they had ham sandwiches and when he shared that information with us you could tell that Mom was embarrassed but she needn’t be.

I was blessed to be able to share with a family what we could share.  My family has been impacted by the economy as well, as have many of yours but yesterday was an important reminder to me that no matter how bad things are, not only could it be worse, as it could, but that when you can actually make someone smile and do it with clear heart and mind it does feel awfully good.  In fact, I think I may have gotten more out of it than they did.

We all said a prayer before leaving them behind and back to our homes, but I will always remember the smiles, the hope and the idea that the stuff I write about everyday is real and that fighting for that family and my own is a worthy cause and something I am committed to now more than ever.

Tony Trupiano is a former national syndicated progressive radio talk show host, author, and a former candidate for Congress. He is also a nationally recognized media trainer.  He can be reached at tony@mediatony.com and can read his Blog at http://www.mediatraining.me


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