Chilly reminiscences and guilt

Very cold this morning.

Driving to pick up Shay I caught sight of a familiar gait, the long, loping stride of Ty briefly lit by a street lamp, making his way to roll call down at the wharf. It’s been more than eight months since I left the wharf. I often see other wharf hands toing and froing about Nelson, but the sight of Ty, a Maori fella of about my age, undoubtedly the coolest of the pack among the stevedores, quiet and lean but powerful and intimidating, the sight of him reminded me of how little changes. I expect that if I wandered down to the sheds in the morning, scrawled my name on the list, joined an unload crew for the day, that things would be just as they were when I started there just under a year ago, and much as they were five years ago, before I’d ever even ventured south of the equator.

Something like guilt crept in this morning. I make substantially more money than Bede. On the one hand, why shouldn’t I? I work harder, I lead where he simply follows. But he’s a family man. He (and his wife) support three children on their incomes, I save a hundred dollars a day toward future pleasures on mine. Where’s the fairness in that?

Been roughing out a list of daily questions that I feel I should be asking myself. Hit upon one that stings a little. Did you do something selfless today? Through this lens I fear I look pretty poor. Everyday I do things for other people, make a colleagues day easier, do whatever I can to support the woman I adore, (sometimes) make time to call family even when it feels like there is no time. But can these be called selfless acts? Are they not self serving in some way? Judaism (among other faiths) has a hierarchy of giving in which all giving is good but the greatest, purest giving occurs when the person giving does not know the person receiving, and the person receiving does not know the giver. In this way, the person giving has no expectations, and the person receiving has no need (or ability) to pay thanks. When was the last time I made an utterly anonymous charitable act and told no one about it?