(I am in NO way suggesting I am ANYTHING like Mother Teresa, just so you know, 'cause I'm NOT)
People who beg for money or food make me uncomfortable. When I see someone approaching me, I instantly get nervous. And I have of course been approached, many, MANY times. Usually it's in a parking lot, and some guy or sometimes woman will give me a sob story about why they need some money. It's been anything from, just moved here and only need 10 more dollars for.... or I need some money to help me get back home....my kid is hungry, my car just broke down, need some gas, whatever. And it always makes me want to run away or cry. I am the kind of person that would literally NOT answer the door if I knew it was a salesperson of any kind because I HATE saying no. It KILLS me to say no. I HATE making people feel bad. So, being approached, face to face, given a sob story, I just don't do well with. Now, you're wondering...do you just give them money. The answer is no. I can honestly say I NEVER have cash on me, so it is easier to say sorry, I don't have any. But sometimes, they won't leave you alone. AWKWARD! I have on occasion, IF I had some cash, given some money to people. Like I said, my heart hurts, even if they're lying and they're crackheads.
But as I mentioned in a post a while back...I have this irrational fear of becoming homeless someday, and I do realize that there are so many people out there who do NOT have amazing family networks like mine. There are good people that have lost everything and are trying to make it in the world with no one to help them. Aww man, that gets me all misty just typing it. Sometimes, people really just NEED some compassion and help. So anyway, I had something happen a couple of months ago that I just never wrote about. I think I needed some time to process it.
(My apologies if this comes across as preachy, just take it for what it is...my random experience)
The scriptures are full of Christs teachings to "Do unto others as you would have them do." We're taught to take care of, be kind to, serve, etc. And Matthew 25 (thank you Jenny for being my scriptorian friend) vs. 34 - 40 explains how the Lord will treat those that looked after his "sheep." Vs. 35 "For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:" That was his answer to those asking him, WHEN did we see you hungry or sick? And he tells them..."Inasmuch as ye have done it unto the Least of these my brethren, ye have dont it unto ME."
I've heard that scripture a million times in my life. I've been taught MANY lessons regarding it. I have NOT been perfect at living/fulfilling it.
So, couple months ago, I walked into the grocery store, the kids were being loud and hanging on the cart as usual. I was off in my own thoughts, rushing through the deli area. For some reason I stopped the cart to deal with the kids/think about something, look at something..I don't know. But it was JUST long enough for this very sad and pathetic looking man to talk to me. He approached me, very downtrodden and said, "excuse me ma'am, I was wondering if you could help me out." Immediately my defenses are up. I'm feeling awkward, he's gonna ask me for money. UGH! I HATE this. He then says..."My welfare check won't come in until tomorrow and I have NO food for me or my dog. I was wondering if you could maybe buy me a roasted chicken that he and I could share for the day. I'm not asking you for any money, just something to eat." Ummmmm, what could I say to that. he wasn't asking for money. He JUST wanted to eat. Now I may have a lot of struggles, money may be very tight, but AT LEAST I have a roof over my head, and could go to the grocery store and feed my kids. So, I did something I have never done...I said SURE. I turned the cart around and walked over to the display of chickens with him. He picked one out and then we headed over to the deli counter to buy it. As we were waiting for someone to help us, he timidly asked if maybe he could get a drink too. I said ok. This still all felt so wierd to me, but there I was, doing it. As we were waiting he said "My name is Bruce, and my dogs name is Johnny Cash." "I appreciate this so much." And because I'm nerdy and awkward..all i could do was nod my head. He also complimented me on my cute kids, and I thanked him. Finally, the bill was paid and he thanked me profusely once again and walked out the door.
I went about my regular shopping, sort of bewildered at what had just happened...but my heart felt different. I was so greatful to be able to help him out. Greatful for family, food, jobs, etc. He was in a horrible, and humbling position. He had to ASK/beg someone, a stranger to feed him. He was hungry, he was alone and my heart hurts for him. What is his story I wonder?
I may never know. But I can rest easier knowing that he didn't go hungry that day...and
I was able to help one of the "least of these".
Helping and hopeful,