Can you love the finer things in life whilst dreaming to help the poor?

I cannot help but find myself drawn to all that is fine and old. I want old buildings and houses to stay. Castles and palaces never cease to fascinate me. I love to add more vintage and antique clothing and accessories to my wardrobe. I enjoy drinking tea out of fine bone china tea cups. Everything that sparkles captures my attention. I accidentally choose the most expensive item (before putting it down) because I like it. Everything I like, unfortunately, is usually quite costly and is sometimes at the expense of the less fortunate.

On the other hand, the lonely, sad-faced men and women who wait on sidewalks do not go by unnoticed. I may walk quickly and appear unaware of my surroundings, but I know they’re there. I want them to have a home, to be well-fed, to feel safe, and most importantly, to feel loved. It becomes too painful to smile sympathetically at them and say, ‘I’m sorry, I don’t have any change,’ because one, it is true, and two, giving change is not necessarily helpful either. No wonder many walk by without casting a glance at them. How does it not eat at you, that you are better off than they, even if you make minimum wage and live with your parents?

I believe in doing my best to help the less fortunate. I know there are organisations that help the homeless and the abused, that would put the donations to better use and serve more people in need. I’ve been told that simply acknowledging the existence of people is the least we can do. A greeting or a smile can make a huge difference. So I try to do what I can by donating and volunteering.

Yet I constantly feel torn between both worlds. Those who share my tastes in the finger things in life think the poor are lazy or that only some people should be helped. Those who share the same passion for social justice and live more ‘casually’ think we/I live too frivolously. I am judged by what I wear, my hobbies, and my interests. It seems very few share my dilemma and I’m left alone to ponder which of these matter more to me. Which of these must I sacrifice?

The answer is obvious – the people must come first and the materialistic desires last. Yet I wonder if one can’t have both. Surely we are not born with desires, dreams, and tastes that cannot be put to good use?

So, dear readers, tell me what you think and what you would suggest. Is it possible to have both?

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