Things We Haven't Earned

Dear World:

My friends need help. They're people like me and you, so they don't DESERVE help, because they're stubborn and radically independent and proud and maybe self-involved,  but like me and you, they need it. Just a little bit of help. Just a leg up, or a kick in the rear, or an apple pie, piping hot, delivered to their doorstep (or you can deliver those here to my house, I will see that the sentiment is conveyed). They've fallen into some rough times, like all of us do, and for all of their hard work and determination and independence, they got knocked down again. They're young, and strong and healthy. They believe in providing for their own. They believe their own includes the family and friends that God has put in their way to trip over and laugh at and just enjoy life with. Three years ago they paid through the nose to help our family when we needed it. They didn't care. If it meant rice and beans for a year, they would have paid. And now it's their turn.

There isn't any fall back plan because the fall back plan fell back before they did. There isn't any insurance because the Affordable Health Care act didn't get Affordable until it was too late, and even then it wouldn't have been a lot of help. Explain to me how a family with 5 adorable kids and self employment taxes can also afford medical insurance and all of the other "necessary" things in this day and age. I have been working on this problem over for years, as a single mother and as a married one. If you work hard, you can't afford insurance. If you don't work hard, or at all, you might get free insurance, and food, and whatever, but you can't live with your self. Or some of us can't. They couldn't. They work hard. Harder probably than most of you can imagine. Maybe that's because they have five kids, including a set of twins, and working hard is the only way to avoid another episode of My Little Pony or Go Fish.

Either way, they are now faced with a mountain - or maybe a continent - of medical bills, and a long, long road to recovery that is unimaginable for most of us. For me it is. Weeks of "DO NOT LIFT THAT!" for a man who has never NOT done something to take care of his own in his whole life. He has worked through broken bones and double pneumonia and a pregnant-with-twins wife who had raging hormones that are comparable even to my own, and he never slowed down. Whether this is a diversionary tactic, workaholism or a true providers spirit, I am not sure, but he has taken care of his family of 7 with an average age of 15.666667 (this explains A LOT), thoroughly and well. He is no slacker. Neither is she. I saw the quarts of homemade salsa to prove it.

In spite of all of their domestic heroism, there is nothing so special about this family that makes them deserve help. There is nothing special about most of us that makes us worthy of the support of an entire community. Some of us might be bigger contibutors. I donate a lot of crap to Goodwill. But I can't think of anyone that I know that truly DESERVES a community to step in and pay a bill because of any misfortune. Every one of us screws up. They did. I have.  You have. Nobody I know hasn't made a royal joke out of "real life" at some point. But everyone of us is absolutely dependent on each other for moments like this. Moments when it is so far out of our hands that we don't have the right to refuse help. When our pride and our ability and our worthiness are all smashed to the same ground level of rubble. And this is their moment. They need help. Five bucks is five bucks less that they have to pay to bills that are laughably huge. No they haven't earned it. No they don't deserve it. But do any of us, when the hammer comes down, which it inevitably will, at some point for all of us? I have received more help than I can ever repay. From my family and friends and even strangers. I have been repeatedly humbled by the care that I have been provided without warrant. I don't mind when it's my turn to give, because I have received a hell of a lot. And lord knows, I don't deserve it.

Please consider supporting this family of 7 ridiculously awesome, yet undeserving people (with an average age of 15.66667) as they are faced with medical bills and living expenses that are beyond laughable. Please extend the grace and mercy that you can only hope to receive when you take a wrong step and end up on your head in the pit of eternal despair, and you know you don't deserve help, but you know you can't live without it. We've all been there, or will be, and we've all been on the other side, if we have eyes to see, and humility to share.

An account for donations to the Smith family will be set up at Key Bank this Friday. Or you can send money to them through PayPal at tandtsmith7@gmail.com . Or you can contact me if you don't like those options. Or you can mail stuff to THE SMITH AWESOMENESS, c/o Liv Weston & awesome incorporated, PO BOX 723, Northport, WA 99157. Please make all checks payable to Trent and/or Tamara Smith. Or you can deliver firewood, groceries, board games and Coors Light to their house. Contact me for details.

Please share this with your family, friends and strangers. The Smiths might not deserve it, but you never know when you won't either.

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