Asking a question very often can lead to confusion and uncertainty of how the person receiving the question will receive it. As we age and face what can be extremely difficult situations many people are afraid to ask a question that may be considered obtrusive. The only way you will ever know is to ask and let the person receiving the question decide how they want to handle it. By not asking the question you may be doing both of you a disservice. There are times that just a simple dialog is all the receiving person needs. Then there are times that asking a question can be harmful. The night I lost my dad after I called the time of his death a young nurse came behind me and asked if I needed help taking off my gown. Needless to say my reaction was not real pleasant. My dad had not been dead 3 minutes. Later that evening when signing all the necessary paperwork the young nurse came up and apologized. The thing is that nurse will never do that again. So it’s ok to ask questions because you will never know unless you ask.
As we age at some point is the realization that the most important thing in your life is your time and how it’s spent. In a culture that has become more and more crass in how we interact with each other the biggest single thing that gets ignored is how we waist others time. Time they will never get back. You see this often in grocery store checkouts lines. The first thing is when you step in line to pay for your items you know in advance that this is a participatory activity. How many times have we all waited while the person in of us front figures out a way to pay for their items? Then they get chit-chatting with the cashier and in doing so they are taking seconds or minutes of your time that you will never get back! When you tell someone that you are willing to help them what you are really saying is that I am willing to give up my time for you. That is something that should not be taken for granted. Life events often gives you a new perspective of time and how fleeting it really is and will be gone in a flash!
The issue of non-profits is an interesting one that in ways is confusing and sad. For many in the community the only time they hear from non-profits is during the holiday season asking for money. For many that simply turns people off to giving anything. However it is understandable why non-profits do it. For many people it is a tradition to give at that time. Which is fine. Some people feel pressured to give. The fact is the needs of those less fortunate are a 365 day a year thing. For many non-profits they are understaffed and are constantly trying to find different sources of revenue are in competition with other non-profits to secure the same funding. There is a certain sadness to it if you stop and think about the constant struggle for funding. For many as they age their spouses give them instructions to make a donation in their name when something happens to them. The question then becomes which one? Non-profits are they their worst enemy? I don’t know but I do know the needs of others less fortunate don’t happen just during the winter months. I also know that for those out there who have this false idea that they could never become homeless you need to look again. Former President Bill Clinton said that for a generation that fought against the establishment we have become the most materialistic society in human history. He is right and for many non-profits they try and fill in the gap each and every day. Which in the end is a noble cause.