If you have followed the blog you already know that I was having some trouble with my Nikon 70-300 lens. I had already had it fixed and it was easy to justify getting a new lens to replace it with the plan of fixing it down the road. A longer lens was always on my wish list for pulling bear or wolf in a little closer and just allowing longer viewing in general which is easier on any wild subject. I did end up getting the Sigma 50-500 with the OS.
As with any larger purchase, there is always the afterthought of whether I really needed it, and the answer is no. I was getting by with the shorter lens and it’s not like I’m making my living on photography. If anything it is probably a negative economic endeavor, not even counting gas for travel and other expenses related to the trip because I would probably do them with or without a camera.
The point of this writing is not about the merits of photography. It is more a focus on an internal struggle dealing with need versus want and where to strike a balance. On Sunday, Ryan’s class used scripture from Mark 12 concerning the widows 2 mites. Jesus commented on how many rich gave out of excess. Not that they didn’t give, but just that they gave the extra- like when many of us say to ourselves “If I can win the lottery I would give X” You know, once I am set personally, then I can give more. Then a widow came in and gave “more than all the contributors” even though she gave a fraction of a penny, because it was all she had to live on. She put her trust in God to provide and thought of how she could help others more than herself.
There was a lot of other discussion, but what I have, what I want and what more I could do is always something I debate. I may not have a lot of the fancy things some have, but I have an FJ, a truck, a house, a nice camera and lenses, the ability to travel. I am fortunate. Would I like to have enough land to have some horses? An ATV to get up Sykes? A cabin on the mountain? Of course I would want them…want not need.
This comes up in my mind often, but 2 specific cases from the past week highlight the struggle over how much to give to help others. The first is with the Legacy Mustang Preserve. You can find out more about them and their cause at their site : http://www.ilovemustangs.org/ . As they mention in their welcome “The majority see the politics. We see the horses themselves”. They are losing their lease on their farm but have the opportunity to buy it if they can raise a substantial amount of money. I think they truly care about the horses and do good work. So how much to give? Do I give a decent amount for an immediate need, or save to get my own farm and personally do what I can to take care of the horses? If I hadn’t just bought the new lens couldn’t I have done more of both?
This is a less frequent issue and dealing with horses. Not that I don’t love the horses, but what about people? After bible study today, Ahnya and I drove to Taco Bell to pick up some unhealthy dinner. Sitting on the sidewalk with a gas can and a sign was a man that looked like he had seen better days. An old school bus that had been made into a home of sorts was behind him in the Wal-mart parking lot. It is not the first time that some one in need has been in the vicinity of the Wal-mart parking lot. So do you help each of them?
I did want to help. Coffeen is busy so I parked near the bus, explained to Ahnya why she couldn’t go with me and gave instructions on locking the door and not showing herself ( which is sad and adds another factor to the internal debate). I walked toward him and asked if he needed some money. He said “desperately”. I had already set aside an amount I was going to give him in my pocket while we were at the Taco Bell drive-through. It was enough to get some food and some gas (although at today’s prices not much anymore). It is always a struggle to know how much to give, or even if it is wise or safe to give it to anyone. Being on the edge of Sheridan’s busiest street makes it appear a little safer, but the news shows that there is crazy anywhere.
Again, looking at what I have and the lens I just bought, could I have given more? I won’t lie, but the fact that in this specific case he had 3 very cute kittens in his lap made me debate it more than usual. Kittens. There is no way of knowing if these are the only 3 companions bringing joy to his life or if he is a seasoned transient that knows what works well. Does it really matter?
How easy it is to rationalize why we shouldn’t help. I already mentioned the safety factor, which is real with a daughter to raise. A traditional: “How do I know they won’t just go buy alcohol?”. I thought of it and Ahnya and I discussed it, and I don’t know that he won’t. Does that matter? To an extent yes, I don’t want to support some one getting themselves further into a hole. At the same time, if we are to be Christlike it is not as though he came to help only those that were “worthy” or going to live perfectly. If he had our same mind-set he could have said “Why should I die for them, they are just going to go sin again”. Obviously it is not the exact same but I think that sometimes the “not knowing what they are going to do with the money” is an excuse. There are also probably better ways for me to get around that like buying the actual gas for the can or asking what he wanted to eat and buying the food. I don’t think that was necessary myself in this case and even if he didn’t need it or doesn’t use it wisely I will not go without food from what I gave so why worry about what happens with it now. The question with myself is always should I be doing more?
Do I need some of the things I have that don’t do much, like the hutch, or should I sell it and help worthy causes? Maybe even have a bible with some inspirational verses highlighted and some money marking them under the seat should another opportunity arise. The money could help provide food or clothes, but the bible could provide bread “that he may never hunger”.
I’m not even sure the struggle is about where the balance should be, but more a struggle to completely give up control and trust in the Lord to provide what I need and not worry about the things that I just want. It is also a very un-American idea that goes against the capitalistic system I have been raised in. Well, we’re living in a material world, and I’m a material girl… or boy. … (movie anyone?)