…But the Greatest of These Is Charity

There’s little enough charity in the world today, it seems, especially as the days narrow down into foreclosures, bankruptcies, and mudslinging political insults. But, now and then, a ray of hope, an extended hand, a gesture actually seems to embody the behavior urged by most of the world’s philosophies and religions.

A couple of weeks ago, Cook County (Illinois) Sheriff Tom Dart made national news by announcing that he had no intention of tossing into the street honest rent-payers deceived by landlords who had gone into foreclosure without informing them. These tenants had been going about their lives confident that their landlords were using their monthly checks to pay off the mortgage. When it came down to the wire, the mortgage companies expected Dart to evict the tenants summarily.

According to chicagoist.com (October 9), Dart responded in writing, “What isn’t part of our job, however, is to carry out work on behalf of the multibillion-dollar banks and mortgage industries. Too many times…our deputies arrive at a home…only to find a tenant [who] had no fair warning that they were about to be thrown out of their home.”

Dart then declared:

• “That stops today.”

• “We won’t be doing the banks’ work for them anymore.”

• “We won’t surprise tenants with an eviction order intended for their landlord.”

• “I may be held in contempt of court over this. If that’s the case, I’m willing to accept it…”

Along with Dart, Texan Marilyn Mock gets high marks in the Good Samaritan category. Attending a recent foreclosure sale with her son to help him buy a home, Mock exchanged a few words with Tracy Orr of Pottsbororo. She, it turned out, had not come to buy, but, as she explained through tears, to see her home sold out from under her. Mock, in a snap decision, bid on the $80,000 home. Picking it up for $30,000, she told Orr she and her family could move back in, and they could arrange to pay her back, instead of dealing with a bank.

Mock was quoted as saying, “She needed help. That was it. I just happened to be there, and anybody else would have done the same thing.”

The stunned and grateful Orr told reporters, “More than my house, she gave me something inside, and that’s more important than material or financial things.”

Orr hit on the crux of what we all should be on the lookout for when friends—or strangers—are in need: the gift of “something inside.” It could be big as a house or small as a kind word.

As Grandpa Jones used to sing in “Falling Leaves”:
To your grave there’s no use taking any gold,
You cannot use it when it’s time for hands to fold,
When you leave this earth for a better home someday,
The only thing you’ll take is what you gave away.

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