Originally posted 11/30/07 on my HCW blog
Where you're sitting at a red light and someone is there asking for a donation? It's an awkward sort of situation. Do you look and read their sign? Do you look around and try not to look at them? Fiddle around with things in the car, wishing the light would hurry up and change. I've done all of the above at times. I'd never even seen a panhandler in person until I moved here for college. Think small town girl moves to the big city. In college I was shopping at a little boutique across from campus and came upon man who seemed quite down on his luck, so I gave him $20. I felt really good about what I did until I told Dave (then my boyfriend). He chastised me about how silly it was to give money to someone on the streets, especially $20. I really did think the man would use the money for food. But according to Dave, $20 could buy alot of cheap booze.
Then you get older and you find out there are dishonest people out there. But today I had one of those moments. I had just left the Dollar Tree, where I had bought some Christmas decorations. Got to my car thinking I only had about $2 left to get lunch but discovered I had more in my wallet (don't you love when that happens!). As I go to leave the shopping center I just miss the green light. I see a man standing there with a sign. I wasn't going to look, but I did. With his round face and graying beard, he almost looked like Santa Claus. But there was something about him that just made me know him. I know that makes no sense because I don't know him personally. But he seemed familiar in a way. I looked away, looked at the light, looked at the car in front of me, then went for my purse. There was just something placed on my heart that made giving to him feel like it was the right thing to do. I rolled down the window and stuck out my hand. He walked slowly over to my car and thanked me. I told him to have a good day and I drove away as the light changed.
I'm not sure what made me do that today. It's not like I had alot and what I did give him probably won't be the answer to all his problems. But I think it was knowing that I was okay, that God has provided for me already. That I would eat today, that my pantry was stocked, that I would be warm, that those I love will be taken care of today. But I didn't know if that man could say the same.