Weekly Virtue: Recap Hope, Prepare for Love or Charity

As I said earlier, Hope is a strange one for me. I don’t consider Hope, on its own, to be a virtue.

Quote from Terry Pratchett’s The Wee Free Men:

Miss Tick sniffed. “You could say this advice is priceless,” she said. “Are you listening?”
“Yes,” said Tiffany.
“Good. Now…if you trust in yourself…”
“…and believe in your dreams…”
“…and follow your star…” Miss Tick went on.
“…you’ll still get beaten by people who spent their their time working hard and learning things and weren’t so lazy. Good-bye.”‘

So, I generally hoped things would go well and worked towards them. Things went well.

The next virtue is Love or Charity. For this week, I’ll distinguish them by scale and tangibility. (Is that a word?)

Love is close to home, and, when they’re capable of it, they love you back. It’s an intangible. It’s a warm fuzzy feeling. In many ways, it’s an investment that creates its own reward. Hugging a kid or helping them find a sock in the drawer they still haven’t tidied. (Reminding them to put their clothes out the night before so you can find the sock while they brush their teeth, a good 12 hours before the morning rush, is even better.) Less doing, more feeling.

I’m doing okay with that, except at bed time when my daughter sleep-walks to the bathroom and cries. I need more patience then. Listen to her describe what’s wrong and do something — placebo medicine is great — to help her back to sleep. (Sitting with her doesn’t work when she’s convinced she’s in great pain.) Knitting a pet scorpion for my son (who loves scorpions and claims the hand-knit socks aren’t any better than regular socks).

Charity is actually doing something tangible, for someone you’re not close to. Tidying shelves in the library, sending money to Haiti, shoveling the neighbour’s walk when he can’t, without expecting anything back. It’s less personal.

I need to work on charity. The budget includes a reasonable amount of money, but I’m not investing much time. I used to. Two hours a week of leading Girl Guides, plus two weekend camps each year. Last year it was rolling coins for the school, but the new secretary does it now. (The new, accurate coin tray made it much faster.) Son’s class doesn’t need me for field trips anymore, and he needs the experience. The first time he went without me, he was in tears. Dtr’s class often needs me, but that’s still only a few hours every few months.

If I include Storytelling, it becomes reasonable. The money we raise at performances goes to local charities. Sometimes I go to a school. Hours spent rehearsing, meeting, advertising and actually performing adds up. I’m not sure if how effective it is, though, hour vs actual effect.

So, this week I will continue to be patient with the kids, and maintain a healthy and relaxed home for the family. To quote FlyLady, “Nothing says, ‘I love you,’ like a clean toilet to throw up in.” I will also put in enough rehearsal time so that next month’s performance goes well, and try not to resent the time I spend sending out advertisements for the guild. Not procrastinating would help the last one.

What are your thoughts, and do you have any virtue-related goals for the week?


2 thoughts on “Weekly Virtue: Recap Hope, Prepare for Love or Charity

  1. Charity can also be the heroic act of NOT snapping at the checkout clerk whose dawdling is going to make you late for work. It can be assuming the best of someone whose motives are questionable. It can be forgiving someone who thinks he’s unforgivable.

    In some ways, those are tougher because they’re not dedicated times or funds that are simply For Charity. They have to be located and capitalized on during the course of your day, often when you really don’t want to do it. 😉

    1. Phew! I’m pretty good at that, except when it comes to the kids. I make a point of believing the best of people, which many people think makes me naive. I also give them the time they need because wishing they’d hurry up makes me feel rushed, which I don’t like. If the line is long, it’s because Someone is telling me to slow down. I can’t smell the flowers in the grocery store, but I can take a long slow breath and be grateful my life isn’t so hectic that I don’t have the time to relax.

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