Monday, October 1, 2018

Creative Life: Tithing

You might not think of tithing as a "creative life" sort of thing, but:
  • I don't want to create a whole new category of stuff on Living Rootless; and
  • Tithing - my tithing - is, in a sense, a creative endeavor. 

My decision to tithe sparked in a moment, like menopause, but that one moment was just the final ball drop after this bystander's bobbling and bumping along her twisty path.

The moment occurred while I sat in my daughter's church on a Sunday morning this year. The pastor delivered a pitch on church tithing, and things clicked for me during his sermon.

Ah, tithing. That's the envelope that had been missing from my little collection of ideas about how I wanted to give financial support to others.

What would it be like if I gave 10% of my monthly income to whomever or whatever I deemed a "worthy cause"? Can I afford it?

Certainly worth a try.

Oliver Lee State Park, New Mexico - Pennies on campsite table. September 2012.

In fact, something like this is on the bucket list I typed up decades ago. At that time, I wrote:
"Give some money or goods anonymously each month to a person or family down on their luck - a different person each time." 

At the time I wrote this goal list - it was before there were such things called "bucket lists" - I was, myself, down on my luck. Indeed, toward the top of this list it said:

"Be above survival level ..... " 

I wrote the list just a few months past the height of the unemployment rate during Ronald Reagan's trickle-down era. I was a single parent; my daughter was only barely four years old; I had just started back to school at a community college - possible only because of financial aid. Thank goodness for aid such as:
  • Food stamps
  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families
  • Head Start
  • Pell Grants
  • Subsidized housing

Yeah, folks like to shame those who receive financial aid. I am not embarrassed at my need. I was one of the lucky ones. Albeit poor, I was not generationally poor, and that made all of the difference. I knew things were better out there. I knew I could climb out of poverty. Not all of us are so lucky.

When I was very down and out, so many decades ago, my maternal grandmother sent me a check every month for $25. I don't remember how long she did this; maybe a year, maybe less. That's not a whole lot of money, but gosh, it sure made a difference to me.

It's not in my nature to disburse money to others. It's a behavior I've had to learn, and it still doesn't come entirely easy to me.

But I've had role models, especially in the last 10 years, such as here: On the Way to El Paso: A Remarkable Thing.

I began my tithing a few months ago, though it's taken a bit to actually get up to the 10% mark. This month (October), I'll be making up for some of that with several hefty (for me) donations to local classrooms.

To maximize my limited resources, I intend to focus on three areas:
  1. Educational support for schools in low-income neighborhoods
  2. Immigration and refugee support
  3. Access to affordable health care


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