Lessons In Life


After Dorothy's departure, Blanche, Rose and S...

There is a topic  from the Golden Girls, that no matter how many times I watch it; it always touches me way down deep.

It is about when Rose becomes unemployed and she speaks about the bag lady she sees each morning.

It makes me ponder on my own life. I wonder if you do this too. Do you ever think you could be in a position of being a bag lady/man? Did you study real hard in  high-school and go to college and are now in the middle of a great career? Only to find out the company is downsizing.

Did you ever in your wildest dreams think that one of the major reasons you were being escorted to the front door is because you had proven yourself over and over what an outstanding employee you had been them? That the benefits you had earned was the reason you were being let go? The company has learned to hire temps, because they don’t require the extras.

When I was living in Florida I was amazed at how many people were homeless. You hear the hype about big old Florida. The place to retire, the bright, warm sunshine. How could there  be homeless in such a glorified state?

Florida is a great place to retire if you were lucky enough to be on the right end of the stick. If you were the prior generation that lived, played and worked hard. When there was an economy that was better balanced.

A time before companies figured out several ways to give you less service for a bigger dollar. Life was slower. Food was grown in the ground. Families worked together, looking out for each others interests.

Your meat wasn’t filled with chemicals. It was home-grown, corn-fed, and butchered at your local meat market. Although life is always tough no matter what generation you come from, the family that stays together, prays together and lives for one another are the ones who now look at their Golden Years with stars in their eyes. Their hard work had paid off and now they can ride golf carts,  play golf and frolic in the sun.

But life isn’t like that today. Nothing is stable and there are no more securities. Many live and save for a vacation. But there are many who try so hard to save and when vacation comes they stay home or travel close by. Camping has become a great way to have fun.

If you can even afford a six man tent, you can find many fun and enjoyable places to relax and enjoy the outdoors. But there is still a deeper issue. The ones who are our neighbors, or maybe we worked with, who never saw it coming.

There was no preparations for the future. We thought we had it made in a shade. Suddenly the job is gone. There are two mortgages on the house. Two to three vehicles sitting in the drive way. A swimming pool out back. The kids wear only name brand clothing. The newest make-up and hair styles had to be had. Every credit card in our wallets is maxed out.

We never gave it a second thought that tomorrow may not come. This takes me back to the Golden Girl show and my own experience. I may have talked about this many moons ago. If I did, forgive me, but on the other hand, it is very important for all of us struggling in today’s world to keep this foremost in our heads.

Many of us live believing and knowing that God will not let us walk through it without knowing he is by our side. But we also know that this world is to get worse. The Bible promises us this. It has to get worse before Jesus can come back.

One day I was at a local gas station near my home. I was getting ready to get out of my car and this man started coming towards me. He didn’t want anything from me but yet by his looks I was a little afraid. Shame on me for acting this way. Even the ugliest of sheep can wear the most beautiful clothes.

I watched this man who looked like he hadn’t had a bath in days. His clothes were torn and didn’t fit properly. What he was doing was going through the trash cans. When I realized this I pumped my gas and went in the store to pay.

I said, do you know there is a man out there rummaging through the trash?

Yes, we know it. He is a regular here. Every morning and evening he pays us a visit. He is looking for soda cans or food. We save him our donuts each day and he takes them with a smile.

My heart dropped down to my toes. Here I was, worrying about the rising prices of gas. Complaining in my head about what I had to pay the clerk. I had forgotten to be thankful for having the money to pay.

I felt like a real ass to tell you the truth. Right there in the store I thanked God for all of the wonderful blessings he had bestowed on me through the years. Yes, life is tough. Life throws us many curves. I hate the high prices of anything today. But I am  more careful now ever since that gas station incident.

I watch how much I am wasting. I ask myself, do I really need it, or do I just want it.

When I walked out of the store I walked up to the man. I handed him some money. He looked at it and you would have thought it was the biggest amount of money he had seen in a long time.  Who knows, it may very well have been. He got teary-eyed, and he grabbed my two hands into his and he started shaking my hands. Thank-you, thank-you mam. You don’t know what a blessing this is for me. I can now go to the grocery store and purchase some food that I know is safe to eat.

We hugged each other and he waved and smiled as I got back in my car and left. My heart swelled and my eyes were wet from tears. It felt glorious to help another person. I love helping people. I can’t always say yes to others but I try to do what I can.

Thank-you God for allowing me to learn that life can not be taken for granted. This was a lesson that I needed to learn today. While I sometimes forget to say thanks, and there are times I forget that you are near me, you are constantly watching over me, teaching me things I need to learn before I am allowed to come home. Amen

20 thoughts on “Lessons In Life

  1. Terry, you made the different for one person …. and that’s what counts. We can help everyone that needs help – but we can help somebody every day if we really want to – it doesn’t have to be with money … a hand with a shopping bag … a smile … open up the door for somebody. We can all end up looking in the trash cans so easily … life can change in a day. Love your post. One day our life is okay – next we barley have one.

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    • Yes, yes you are so right. Every day we can see someone who needs a helping hand or at the very least a smile from us. You are right also, we don’t know our tomorrows………….never should we take one day for granted

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  2. Terry you are a wonderful person. It is uncertain times we live in and I worry about those who have less. Something so simple as giving someone money makes a huge difference. There quite a few homeless people here that I see all the time and I’m saddened they live like they do.

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    • Yes there were several where I lived too down there. I used money as an example, but even a smile, a warm one can make a huge difference in someone’s day. By the way, I think you are pretty special and nice too!!!

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    • Your Nana was a wise woman. It doesn’t have to be money as I used as the example in this post. It can be a genuine smile. Thanks for letting me know you enjoyed it Joanne!

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  3. Great post, Terry.

    I might add that it doesn’t have to be ‘downsizing’ or ‘being made redundant’ to experience difficult finances.

    I had to quit my long term job due to chronic ill health in 2010 (with a very, very large debt). I could no longer work at any job, let alone my relatively secure office job. I was lucky being at an age where I could access my small retirement fund (accessible only on retirement age of 65, OR over age 56 if you permanently retire from the workforce ) and used some of that to pay off all my debts. I was just 56 and naturally didn’t expect to be retiring for another 10 years (being a single person with rent to pay each week).

    My GP helped me apply for a permanent Govt Disabilty Pension (with more than adequate written evidence & medical records to support my claim).

    I’d like to think my elderly 85 yr old parents would have given me a bed on their lounge floor at the time, but nothing is certain in this life. We are born, we live and eventually we die. Death is the only thing in this life that is a certainly.

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  4. I was complaining this morning and now you have made me realize how very lucky I am. Thanks for the reminder to practice the “attitude of gratitude” 🙂 I needed this today.

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