Sitting in my warm house with all our stuff. Made a cup of tea. Looked at all the stuff in the fridge – a full refrigerator – and had the thought that many people don’t have full fridges like this. Many people open a fridge door hoping to see plenty of food only to find that they have the last quart of milk, maybe some kind of meat, maybe some kind of vegetable. If they live where they can get vegetables, that is. Then my thoughts stumble over the look at the elephant in the fridge, er, in the room – that I should be doing something to help people who don’t have enough to eat.
As I write this, letting it grow from a thought to a confession, I feel this guilt about not doing more now, already. The guilt makes me sad. And I know this sadness because I’ve felt it before – it is a sadness whose companion is inaction. Guilt and inaction, really. I feel guilty and that prevents action. Is that causal or concurrent? I feel guilty about many things and still take action, such as eating an entire box of Oreos – I felt the guilt when I bought them, yet I ate them. Truly, the $3.39 I spent on them I could have saved, put with some other money and sent to a hunger relief organization. I could have taken that box of cookies across the street to the food pantry and not opened them at all. Maybe that’s a different kind of guilt? Or not guilt at all, but shame? No shame would be the inaction. Guilt would still be the main feeling.
I don’t need to analyze it to know that there are times when I feel something and I need to take action, and other times when I feel I need to not take action. Helping people – take action. Eating a whole box of cookies – don’t take action.