Two main kinds of folks in this world

Two main kinds of folks in this world

I have heard all of my days that in life, we will meet two main types of people — the givers and the takers. It is a fairly simple truth. Think about it and I would be willing to bet my best Texas boots that you can form a list of names in your mind, with some in each category. Now, we are not going to ask you to do that or to share those names with others. That would put us on the ugly side of life, and we don’t want that.

Some people seem to be born with an innate desire to help other human beings and even animals. Others seem to have come into this world with an intense desire to maintain only for themselves and sometimes for their family members or someone they deem worthy. They go through life with their hands out, usually their feelings hurt, and a scowl on their face. If life isn’t served up the exact way they expect it to be, woe to those around them and sadness and anger fill the space they occupy.

Many Southeast Texans, remembering Hurricanes Rita, Katrina and Ike, wouldn’t think twice about writing a check, giving groceries from their own pantries, rolling up their sleeves to work, or providing transportation, homes, and anything else to those in need. People are staying in my home as I type, and I am glad. I clearly remember one of my very first interviews many years ago here in Southeast Texas. It was with the dynamic and delightful Paula O’Neal, executive director of Some Other Place. Paula shared with me her story and then we toured the wonderful agency where people were given food, household and school supplies, and often referrals for additional help.

“Brenda, you will never meet a more generous group of givers than you will find in Southeast Texas,” said Paula. “They care about others.” She went on to tell me about regular, consistent volunteers who serve food to the homeless in the area. Others were regular givers with their financial contributions keeping the work afloat. Still others were encouragers when times were sad and burdens were heavy. I learned that C.W. Conn, founder of Conn’s, even in his last years, put on an apron and served food on Christmas and other holidays to those who would not have had a hot meal.

I want each of you: Are you a giver or a taker? When others think of you, which category would your name most often fall into? I do realize that there are times when health, business, family, or other personal reasons might prevent us getting involved, but as a general rule, are you willing?

What made me begin to think of this is the vast flooding we have experienced in several counties near Beaumont. I now live in Orange and the waters of the mighty Sabine River came way too close to my house for comfort this go-round. When the gates were opened at Toledo Bend, twice the rate of water flowed through per second than flows over historic Niagara Falls. Because a great deal of rain had fallen, the marshy land along the river and outward had already been inundated with water and could not take on more. Levels began rising and homes began flooding. Animals were in danger and humans could not even get home to remove precious memories from their property. Roadways became rivers, pastures became lakes, and every tributary, canal, pond, pool and the river itself was overflowing. Caskets floated out from the local cemeteries and could be seen on roadways and up against banks and buildings. Sad times.

But as it was with Hurricane Ike and other natural disasters, some of these Texans rolled up their sleeves and started to work. Men, women and children could be found bagging sand. They found food and shared it with others. They helped to relocate animals. They helped move furniture and supplies. They did not ask for payment, credit or notoriety. They were too busy working and caring.

We had another group, too, and it is probably really good that I could not get to them in person. They griped about everything. The county was not doing enough for them. They had no help. And one individual actually told me that if the good help offered was not on her list of approved sources, she would not tell others about it. I almost asked her when God died and left her in charge, but refrained.

Folks, we are either givers or takers, and more than that, we either give with the right attitude and motive, or we give to be acknowledged, garner attention and seek approval. Let’s vow to give with the right heart and help to make our world a better place in which to live. God bless the givers.

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