To share or not…

We’ve created a monster. Whenever we eat, Goldie thinks she should have a share of our food. But she doesn’t just sit up and look pretty. She is demanding, letting us know what she wants with an insistent bark!

Most of our Goldie walks have taken place just around our neighborhood. On this occasion I decided I needed to go to CVS pharmacy, which is across the tracks, to pick up a prescription. There is something of a “forced march” feel to a walk like this. We made it to CVS just fine. I tied Goldie up to a handicapped sign outside the store as I went in to get my prescription. It took longer than I thought, and Goldie was getting very anxious. I came out a couple of times and she was having a fit.  

Finally, I got my prescription and as a reward for our effort, I bought a small Snickers bar. And although she didn’t insist as usual, I shared my candy bar with her. And she didn’t even have to ask! 

Many years ago a little book came out proclaiming, “All I need to know I learned in Kindergarten.” No doubt, one of the things we were supposed to have learned was to share our toys.  Girls do that better than boys.  

That’s why, recently, Taco Bell aired a commercial about sharing, aimed at guys.  It talked about all the ways society gets us to share, including sharing your feelings, which is rough territory for a man.  It ends with an admonition not to share this particular taco.  Pretty effective as commercials go.  

So, there you have the long and the short of sharing. I believe human nature is hardwired to share. All you have to do is watch a newborn freely want to share whatever she has with whoever is next to her. That instinct to share is driven out of us as we are constantly encouraged to keep things for ourselves.  

But the opposite is also true. All you have to do is watch a two-year-old jealously protect something he knows to be his. So this sharing gene is there, only lurking; just as the not sharing gene is there to take over. Those two equal and opposite instincts are there at war within us at all times.  

I find it fascinating that this struggle to share is making front page news. The one year anniversary of the shooting in Ferguson, Missouri, was met with more violence. In news reports they took great pains to distinguish between protesters and criminals. Blacks feel increasingly disenfranchised in the seats of power to control their own destiny, their own fate, when it has felt those battles were fought and won so long ago. I guess it just goes to show, “the price of freedom is eternal vigilance.” 

The place that occupies my mind about this “sharing” gene, however, is Jerusalem. Many see that the key to solving much of the mess in the Mideast is to figure out how to bring Israel and Palestine together. And that starts with who controls Jerusalem.  

Three faiths have ties to the history of Jerusalem, and it appears that none of them have the will to figure out how this ancient city should be shared. I am not smart enough to figure out such a conundrum.  

I have an example of this war on sharing that’s much closer to home. A friend of mine told me that when her husband retired, she made sure he would share more of the cooking duties. Since I love to cook, that seemed to be a great place to help out. But old habits die hard, and it’s so much more fun to have someone wait on you, so I’m reluctant to change something that seems to be working so well! In my saner moments, however, I would simply offer Goldie’s advice, and that is: “SHARE”!

 

Mark Stoub is a retired Presbyterian minister who has written two novels: “Blood Under the Altar; and the forthcoming, “Fire in the Blood.” He can be found at mj.stoub@sbcglobal.net 

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