Monday, May 5, 2014

Knights in Shining Armor

There have been many times in my life when I've needed saving.  I remember once as a teenager locking my keys in my car in a seedy parking lot in downtown Denver.  I was a pretty fearless (read that to mean: stupid and naive) girl, but, as the sun set and the zombies began to walk, bravado turned chicken, and the sound of my Dad's old VW bus chug-chuggering into the parking lot sounded like the bugle call of the Cavalry to me.  I was saved!  Bless my Dad, he didn't even kill me; just gave me a stern lecture and warned me that if I locked my keys in the car again he might not come and get me next time.  But, you know what?  I did. And he did.  Just like we both knew he would.  He was my Daddy and he wouldn't really leave me to fend for myself.

Family is like that. I've been fortunate to have been the beneficiary of Good Samaritans in my lifetime, helpers who were anonymous strangers, but it's been rare.  More often -- way more often -- I've been fished out of the drink by family members.  They're Grumpy Samaritans sometimes and tend to lace their good deeds with warnings and lectures and a little grumbling, but they come through. I'm so grateful to have been able to take that for granted in my life.  I don't know how many times my big brother, Steve, has fixed cars for us, for instance.  We've all heard the muffled cursing just below the sound of clanking tools, but we also know that he'd have been insulted if we hadn't called him.  We've tried to return the favor to Steve, too, when we could, and have helped our grown-up kids countless times -- as our parents have saved our keesters over the years.  It pleases us these days to hear how our grown children have been running to one another's aid.

The works of mercy are many and necessary in a family our size, too!  To wit: big brother Paul has extended the borders of home for his little sis, Michelle, providing her room and board while she makes her way in California; Michelle helps out with her nephew and niece and donates toward the family "kitty" in exchange. Kevvy turned over his DJ jobs to his little bro, Dominic, when he was leaving town and Dominic was arriving jobless, and Dominic, who's making money now, is helping grease Kevvy's skids while he's between jobs in New Zealand.  Theresa and her brothers and sister are forever finding, saving, and sharing sheet music with one another.  Cathy is a very popular sister because she sends baked goods.  But Brother Philip may trump everyone's efforts because he prays and recruits other seminarians to root for our causes, too.  Mind you, this is just a sampling of what's going on right at the moment, and doesn't include the last minute rescues when someone misses a flight or slides off the road in a snowstorm or needs a few dollars to survive until payday -- but it's all part and parcel.  Most families, I think, develop a beautiful "goes-around, comes-around" theme that operates between the generations helping to guarantee the survival of the family name.  Charity really does begin at home.

And it's a wonderful thing. It may be part of the ritual for some benefactors to bellyache, but the knights du jour always come to the rescue of their needy family members -- or die trying.  They have to.  Not only do they love the sibling/child/cousin/aunt/uncle/parent they're going out of their way to save, but they gain points in the score chart of "One Upsmanship and Favors Owed" that exists especially among siblings.
And, you know, there's this too: as many times as most of us need saving...   It just feels good to be the one doing the saving every once in a while. Who doesn't like being the knight in shining armor?  As long as we're willing to cheerfully hand the suit over to the next person  who needs to do some rescuing -- because the one needing saving might just be us.

* Stars and hearts out to the Davis kids sticking their necks out (and reaching into their pockets) to help each other these days.  Mom and Dad are noticing -- and we're not the only ones.

No comments: