I’m not the sort of girl who makes New Year’s resolutions. I prefer to set my goals as they become needed, and I’ve got a new one. This last winter (sorry, I know lots of you are still cold. Down here, though…winter has left the building. Look out, here comes summer! Bleh.) I was driving home one day when I stopped at a red light. It was chilly even with the sun out – many of the shoppers I had encountered on our diaper run (we buy them in bulk) were wearing heavy coats. At this particular light there was a man begging. This isn’t unusual where I live, although it shocked me when we moved here. After a few years of it, I mostly ignore them and try not to make eye contact with the crazies when I’m alone in the car with my babies. For some reason, though, this particular man caught my eye, and when I looked at him he reminded me of my dad. Perhaps it was that he was bald. He wasn’t wearing a coat, and, of course, I could tell he was bald because he wasn’t wearing anything to cover his head. The thought popped into my head, “How would I feel if my dad had to beg out on a street corner in winter, without even a hat to cover his bald head?” The answer was easy. Terrible, of course. Heartbroken. “I would hope that someone would help him.”
By this point in my internal dialogue I had travelled some distance, but the picture of that man and the feeling he raised has stayed with me. I know that there is quite a tangle with regards to who ‘deserves’ help, and who is using it to avoid work or to turn a quick buck, and it is an inescapable truth that I cannot save everyone – but the fact remains that there are people everywhere that need help, and I am in a position to help at least some of them.
I was sort of at a loss in terms of where to start – I poked around for several weeks investigating charities and the like, but nothing really spoke to me. I don’t know if I was waiting for one to call to me, but one did. I was in church last week, only half-listening (playing with Charlie, you know) when a woman got up to give an announcement. “We are looking for crocheters and knitters” (That’s me! I thought) “who would like to be involved in our humanitarian efforts.” (I would! I thought) My church has highly organized humanitarian services, and is well known for its extensive work for and with those who need help. Silly me for not thinking sooner to go through them. So, now I’m making mittens.
I’m making them in Max’s size, because somewhere out there (I would say ‘not too far away,’ except we’ve already come out of winter) there are little boys and girls, just like my baby, who have cold fingers no one to make mittens for them. So now, I am.