The Meaning of Having Heart

heart1Today, as things continue to deteriorate around us, I feel that it is important for all of us to step up and have heart for the good people in our community.  These are the people that are ordinary, hard-working, law abiding citizens that have been caught in this economic slump with no job (or a lousy minimum wage job), no safety net, and not a whole lot to look forward to. 

I personally feel a lot of compassion for these people and want to share my thoughts on “having heart”.  I have used that term often and yet when I tried to find the origin or that saying, I drew a blank.  So, lacking something better, let us go with “having the passion to care and to show kindness to your fellow man”.

Now you might ask:  Why this?  And why today?

I will answer that but first, I want to let you know that back in July, I sent a version of this article to my newsletter subscribers. At the time, my newsletter list was new and I only had a few hundred subscribers which means that only a handful of my readers have seen this.  And so I share this today, because for me – and I hope for you – the message is important.

What is wrong with this picture?homeless2

Back in July, I read an article by Michael Snyder, a fellow blogger at The Economic Collapse blog.  Michael is an outspoken (and might I also say outstanding) voice in the survival niche and his articles are widely syndicated across the internet.  Normally, I tend not to mention them on Backdoor Survival since his work is already well-covered elsewhere.

But, when the article titled Scenes Of Despair was posted, I just knew I had to speak up and pass it on.

In this article, you will to told of heartbreaking stories about ordinary folks whose lives have been decimated by global economic woes. These are stories about people like us: ordinary law-abiding people who have been caught in the web of corruption and deceit created by Wall street, the banking industry and elected officials not just here in the United States, but throughout the world.

It starts out like this:

Sometimes it can be easy to forget that behind all of the horrible economic numbers that we hear about are millions of real people that have had their lives absolutely devastated by this economy.

Elderly couples are being brutally evicted from their homes, young families are living in their cars, terminally ill people are dying because they cannot afford medication that they need and millions of parents can’t sleep at night as they wrestle with anxiety over not being able to provide for their children. Often those that lose their jobs or their homes discover that people start looking at them very differently and that there is very little compassion out there these days.

As you will read about below, one major U.S. bank is even kicking an elderly woman with stage 4 breast cancer out of her home because she cannot make her full mortgage payment each month.

This, to me, is very sad.  And eye-awakening especially since I sit here in the comfort of my own home with no debt, a great job, great health, and lots of gear, food and water for the long term.  It would be easy to sit back with blinders on and simply enjoy life.

Alas, no can do.  I want, no, I need to have heart.  But there is more.

As the reign of hard currency ends, poor people will feel the painhomeless3

Last May, I read another article, Stealing Dignity From the Poor, which, in a similar vein, talked about how the poor were treated with less than respect. The article told about a poor person trying to purchase a dog collar with a collection of coins – 30 quarters to be exact.

Many stores don’t want to bother with a pile of pennies, nickels and dimes, and there’s no law that says they have to.

So when the poor try to use coin instead of flashing a credit or debit card, a merchant will all too often just kick the low-income customer to the curb.

Just one more example of how the homeless are considered disposable people.

Just one more example of how the poor must endure not only a lack of money, but how determined some are to take away the last remnants of their dignity.

What is wrong with people, anyway?  What happened to kindness regardless of dress and regardless of economic status and appearance?  Has our society become so blinded that we can fathom a lower class?

Well I have news for you.  The middle class is rapidly disappearing.  In my opinion we have not seen the worst yet. Again, in my opinion, we are in a bubble of goodness and will be in that bubble until after the election.  Come 2013, regardless of which candidate prevails, the S will HTF in one way or another.  When that happens, we may become the person with just a stack of coins with which to pay for our goods.

The Final Word

The best we – the ordinary folks – can do now is to live our lives vy having heart.  We need to live our lives with compassion for those that deserve it and, lest we become a victim, keep our wits about us and prepare as best we can for a time when we may need that compassion ourselves.

I would like to end with a quote by Jim Henson, founder of the Muppets before he died. “My legacy is to make the world just a little bit better by having been here.”  In these uncertain times, we can not ask or expect for anything more than that.

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!


From the Bargain Bin: I put some thought into the things I would want to have if/when there is another Great Depression. These are all items I personally have on hand.

Lodge Logic 12-Inch Pre-Seasoned Skillet: Cast iron items were at the top of the list. My readers love cast iron and so do I. Also at the top were Lodge Set of 2 Pan Scrapers and the Lodge Max Temp Handle Mitt.

All New Square Foot Gardening: I put in a Square Foot Garden last year and was pleased with the results. It is not too early to start planning for spring planting.

Clara’s Kitchen: Wisdom, Memories, and Recipes from the Great Depression: If you don’t know about Clara, be sure to read Depression Cooking: A Visit to Clara’s Kitchen.

Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Discovery That Revolutionizes Home Baking: At an average cost of 50 cents a loaf, this bread is easy, delicious and inexpensive to make.

Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day: 100 New Recipes Featuring Whole Grains, Fruits, Vegetables, and Gluten-Free Ingredients: Ditto.

How to Live on Wheat: Everything you need to know about wheat.

Fiskars 7855 8-Inch Hatchet: The Fiskars products are easily sharpened and will last a lifetime. Oh, and while you are at it, you might also like the Fiskars Axe & Knife Sharpener .

Kaito Voyager KA500 Solar/Crank Emergency AM/FM/SW NOAA Weather Radio: A lot of different hand crank radios were sold but this was by far, the most popular.

Emergency Mylar Thermal Blankets (Pack of 10): I do believe in helping my neighbors in the community so a supply of these will be handy to hand out to those in need. You will be surprised at how warm these will keep you. Be sure to test one out in advance so that you have the confidence to trust the blanket in an emergency.

Holding Your Ground: Preparing for Defense if it All Falls Apart: I You NEED this book if you care about defending your homestead.

I eat a lot of fruit (usually three whole fruits a night as a bedtime snack) and in a SHTF situation, fruits will be something I will really miss.  The Freeze-Dried Fruit Favorites Combo from Emergency Essentials is something I use all year round.  With the grocery store a 20 mile round trip journey, I like the thought of being able to rehydrate my own fruit, in the quantity I want, at a moments notice.

The selection includes Apple Dices, Bananas, Peaches, Pineapple Dices, Blueberries and Strawberries.

But not to be left out, there are veggies too.  The deluxe supply of Freeze Dried Vegetables includes 18 #10 tins of the following veggies in various quantities:  Broccoli, Cauliflower, Sweet Corn , Green Beans, Green Peppers, Green Peas, Mushrooms, Potato Dices, Spinach, and White Onions.

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6 Responses to “The Meaning of Having Heart”

  1. I have 4 childern, all working. One grandson, school> I am very concerned about them and what the future will be. What concerns me a a major natural event: earthquake, flood, real BAD weather: items that can cut off food, fuel, services. People today are JOB: just over broke. Those are the one that I am concerned about. The government will not be there to help.

  2. I am with you. PK Dick made a comment that goes roughly ‘I don’t remember people for their success or wealth in life but by how kind they were” Good words to aspire to. Thanks for this post.

  3. Turn your back on God, and there’s nothing left.

  4. “as you do unto the least of these, you do unto me” I agree with you. However, you MUST differentiate between those that are thrown into poverty and those that join it by choice. There are many, many homeless that are homeless by choice. There are those that do not want to be helped and those people do not deserve our help. Don’t confuse those that don’t chose that lifestyle and those that are there not of their own choice or by reason of mental problems, they deserve our compassion.


  5. Hi TexasScout, I would like to comment about your comments on differentiating those who join poverty by choice, the homeless by choice, those who do not want or deserve our help.
    THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS “CHOOSING POVERTY or HOMELESSNESS”. As you quote the Bible I hear a frustrated good person who has been blessed. Those that are blessed automatically posses responsibility to share those blessings without judgement. I don’t mean material possesions or money, maybe time, energy, acknowledgement, listening, empathy. Why does our society make poverty or homelessness a character failure? Poverty & homelessness are symptoms of a society that has choosen to IGNORE other human beings because of their lack of education, lack parenting & lack of money (blessings). Who are we to judge who we bless? Why does this particular subject create emotions strong enough to propel you to share these feelings? Just maybe the plan God has for your life is to learn that YOU ARE & CAN BE A BLESSING to someone else just by virture of evolving to the point where you accept this about yourself. There are over 16 million children in the US who are living in poverty at this very moment. Did they choose poverty/homelessness? Without intervention, the experiences of poverty/homelessness will lead these very children into an adulthood into which they have no idea there is any other way to live? Life & God have presented you with an opportunity, it’s up to you whether you rise to the occassion or stay stuck, paralyzed by your questioning of what life is calling you to be or do.

    • I can’t disagree with most of what you wrote. However, when I offer food to a homeless person and they say they don’t need food just money for beer or wine or drugs, sorry, they don’t need my help. They are on that road by choice. It had happened time and time again. I no longer give out money to homeless, however, I do give to local organizations that work with the homeless. That way I know my money will be spent wisely.

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