My Susie Problem

⟡ A homeless friend ⟡

She’s college educated, well traveled, super smart, funny, sharp, sophisticated, well mannered. She’s talented, hard working, fun loving, sensitive, highly spiritual.  She’s a mother and a grandmother.  Presently she’s single, but she’s so charismatic, there are always men hovering around her.

Susie isn’t the picture in your mind of homelessness:  a fuzzy man freezing on a street corner in Indianapolis.

No, Susie’s rollerblading on a path near the beach in the sun.  If you passed her, you would never know she is homeless. She always manages a place to stay.  A friend’s couch.  She’s an expert house sitter and pet sitter, leaving the house cleaner and better than when she found it.

I have no idea how or why everything tumbled out of control in her life.   Awhile ago she asked me for a loan.  I felt uncomfortable.  I said no.

Why did I decline?  I live carefully.  My children are adults and I don’t give them money.  I have no money to “spare” — but in the big picture, yes, technically I had the money. Her request dredged up so much stuff.  Do I not take a vacation because I give my money to Susie?  I don’t give to my children, but I would to her?  What would you do? I also felt what she asked for, $400, which she wanted for clothes, would be useless, a drop in a bucket and no measurable difference, no desired outcome.  Her situation would stay the same.

Am I heartless?  Would you give money to a homeless friend?   There’s so much that needs to be taken care of to relaunch a life:  a huge infusion of cash to get her a place, so she can get a job, a domino effect of things that need to be done so she can live independently.  Has she in fact “gotten by” because occasionally people have put $400 her way?

Perhaps if I could have seen a “return on investment” — if several people got together to relaunch her, I might have contributed?

Why couldn’t I give her money?  Why can’t she get her life together?  Why won’t she apply for public assistance?  Why won’t her daughters help and shelter her?

She has defriended me.  I understand.  She’s hurt and angry.

I miss her, but I am at peace.  The friendship was uncomfortable because of the inequities.  I couldn’t share the issues of my life because they paled in comparison with her survival issues.  I felt guilty for my life, for what I have.  I don’t want that.

So, that’s my Susie problem.

What do you think?

xo Liza

Hello my lovelies.  A difficult post to write.  Lots of soul searching.  I’m listening in the comments box below. Your comments are the most enjoyable part of the blog!  Please like or share this post via the clever buttons below. And if you haven’t already, enter your email in the box above so you won’t miss a thing. 

5 thoughts on “My Susie Problem

  1. You ask difficult questions without easy answers but you know that. All i can say is, if you feel that you are at peace (not happy) with your decision, it is all you can do. I wish uou peace and acceptance.

  2. This is something we have trouble talking about … $$ and friends, and family. You hit all the things that go through my mind on this subject. When asked for a loan, or a hand out, I try not to cringe but I often say no. When I don’t I feel uncomfortable I feel awkward and I resent people that make me feel that way. Each of us must do as we must do. If your friend felt better by de-friending you, then you let them go until they show up again some time later … or not.
    It is very comforting to know that another struggles with $$ and friends and family.

  3. As always, a blog of “tough to grapple with” questions. For some reason, I get asked for “loans” rather frequently. I’m sure I’m not perceived as rich but I may be perceived as a softy or just as a person who never says, “no”. Well, I, in fact, deny such “loans” to the Susies in my life pretty often. I’ve never been defriended but I have stopped hearing from a couple of people. When, however, I decide to help someone out, I always think of it as a gift. If they surprise me and return the money, I’m pleased. If they don’t, I’m not angry or disgruntled. In the case of your Susie, Liza, I’d have come to the conclusion long ago that she was actively contributing to her own insecure place in our economy and I probably wouldn’t have given her more money to fling around.

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