Most of us are going through bad times financially. Not just squeezing the purse or wallet but literally merely getting by hand to mouth. I had a call from an old pal last night in a desperate situation asking to borrow a few euros. Unfortunately, I had had to do the same a few hours earlier and felt awful to have nothing to give because I know the couple, and I know their need is genuine and not caused by over spending. They are animal lovers who have fallen on bad times due to ill health, the one seriously too ill to work and the other the carer. They find it hard to live on their small state pensions. One of their problems is their garden, which is a useful repository for all the kittens and puppies their neighbours don’t want. Neighbours in better financial straits who are too mean to have their animals spayed and who land even more worry on them.
I shamefacedly offered a small amount of the cash I had borrowed and the husband thanked me sincerely and said he would collect it. I was going into the shower, so I put the cash in an envelope in the post box and a bag of small food offerings gleaned from my cupboards on the step. I wished with all my heart I had more because I know at first hand what desperation tastes like. I consoled myself that I was doing what my great mother had taught me to do, to share whatever little you have because a little is always better than nothing.
This morning I was hailed by a neighbour who is hoping to produce good quality cat litter. He told me a few weeks back that he had been experimenting with various types and would let me have the leftovers when he finished. He had four big bags of litter for me. Brilliant! That is a saving in more than one way because when I don’t have litter I stand cutting/tearing up paper for the cat box, tedious and tiring when you have as many cats as I have and ‘the poo box’ needs rigorous attention daily. (Like the couple above, I would be very happy to have just one cat or dog, but animals are thrown away here in Cyprus by some folk and rescued by kind hearts who suffer for their kind deeds.) My neighbour and family were off on holiday and, needless to say, I blessed him with all my heart.
My next door neighbour who has a soul as beautiful as her face, called, she had already given me a huge bag of mixed grapes the day before. She had a gigantic watermelon she wanted to share, it was too large for them to consume alone she told me. I tucked in at once. I love watermelon, but they are usually so big I don’t buy them knowing it’s too much for me to eat and very heavy to carry on my bike. Cyprus in August makes one wonder why anyone (particularly this sugar nut) would go for manufactured sugar with so much wonderful, deliciously sweet local fruits available and not only in shops but handed around by people you know who have vines/fields/trees or relatives in villages that pass on the delights of a bountiful harvest.
An old neighbour who steadfastly treated encroaching old, old age with disdain, taking his daily walk to the club near by to play backgammon or just chat to the other old boys, is now bed ridden and the marvellously fertile fig tree in his garden plops its rich fruit onto the ground to be squashed by cars. That saddens me as much as his removal from what kept him going, it is a waste of good quality food some hard up folk would be glad to harvest and consume.
After I had enjoyed the succulent watermelon, my door bell rang. It was another friend who has cats. She has a car and buys cat biscuits wholesale from the factory. She had arrived with a ten kilo bag of good biscuits. I was delighted and apologised for the fact that it would be next week when my Irish pension came in that I could pay her. She laughed and said,
“You’re a friend, I don’t want the money,” and she drove off.
The cats I rescue are a huge problem in many ways. If I could remove the element in my nature that makes me prone to care for creatures hurt or hungry I would do so because taking care of them creates work.
I suffer deep disturbing depressions. I say this not seeking sympathy, but for anyone reading this who gets so down they fear there might be no way back up. There always is, and it usually comes in the form of good friends and neighbours willing to give help that means far more than just the physical offering. It makes you realise that there are good people around you and that they appreciate you, in spite of your faults and failings and, more importantly, because they found something in you worthwhile too. Goodness is out there vigorously fighting selfishness. And one good deed deserves another rather like a smile or a good morning can make a difference to a day. I made one minute offering last night, and I got far more in return to gladden my heart and soul.