Thursday, August 26, 2010

Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the Least of these...

(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 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 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 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,



jen said...

Didn't know I was helping with a post. Great story. And I love that he asked for something to eat. Much easier on the heart that way.

Aimee said...

I always try to help homeless out whenever I can because I too worry if one day I might be homeless. I also am a huge believer of karma...Thats great that you were able to help him out. He seems like a sweet guy amd he asked for food. Thats great.

If I see a homeless person near a place where i can buy food I go and get some and give it to them because I usually dont have money on me and also because i dont want them spending it on alcohol... I really feel bad for homeless people

good job to you! :)

Kristina P. said...

I am always OK with giving the homeless food. Money is a different issue, but food is OK.

the shoafs said...

this story made me tear up. i couldn't imagine being in the position that i had to beg for food. i am not one to give money out to panhandlers but i have been known to go pick up something from the store and bring it back to them. occassionally, they'll refuse....which tells me what they really want. most of the time though, they are grateful that someone helped them in any way.

i DO actually have a funny story in regards to this (wouldn't ya know it)....when i was in college, i felt compelled to help a man who was by the side of the road with a sign saying that he was hungry and homeless. i wasn't about to give up my meager college kid money so some random could go get his buzz on, so i went to the store and bought several canned goods. as i was leaving the aisle, i realized that he might not have the means to OPEN the cans of food! how cruel would that be? so i stopped down another aisle and picked up a can opener. when i gave him the bag of food, he thanked me over and over. as i was getting ready to drive off, i heard a knock at my car window...and there he was. i freaked thinking that he was unhappy with my menu choices...but he held up the can opener and ended up giving it back to me, telling me, "i have one of these already...but thanks!" i near died laughing on the way home and basically just ended up with a can opener and no cans in my apartment!

could i have MADE that any longer????

LambAround said...

It's your blog. You can be as preachy as you want! Good for you for speaking your mind.

That said, I will leave my comment at that ;)

Cheeseboy said...

I think that is still so cool of you. You could have still said no, but you opened your heart. Even if the food wasn't for him, if it was FOOD he got, I am sure that someone in need will eat it.

Hopefully, not the fake beggar I see every week off our on ramp.

DianD said...

Good for you for having a heart. I'm afraid I've seen so much abuse of good people with heart, "the system", etc., that I've become way too synical. After Dad was on the task force for the homeless and talked to MANY homeless, we'll NEVER give them money, but food is a different situation. My G'ma lived during the depression and helped many a homeless with food, but always in exchange for something... she said it gave them their dignity to do something in exchange for what she did for them. The question is,what could you have someone do in this day and age that wouldn't jepordize your safety, so they could have their dignity and you could still help? I don't have answers... just lots of questions. I'm proud of you, Allyson. You did the right thing! Love ya... Mom

The Coolest Allen Family said...

I come to your blog to laugh, not cry! Honestly, though, thanks for sharing; it was very touching. It made me feel greatful for my many blessings.

LanaBanana said...

Great story. I hate most the feeling I get when I walk away from a situation that I know I should have done something. Most of the time I don't know what that 'something' is, so I walk away feeling terrible. But sometimes we need to take a few seconds to consider and listen and lots of time the inspiration will come. And it's such a great feeling to know that you've actually helped someone in need. You won't be forgotten in his eyes, and hopefully the people that are helped can see a little bit of the Savior through each of us.

The Atomic Mom said...

So, here is a true story for you...

One day we were coming out of someplace in Santa Fe which is really a scary place, you have to be so careful. Anyway, this lone lady came up to us. She needed some money to get a motel room for one night then she was going to be fine, I can't really remember why. We both just blew her off and walked on. Then we both stopped and the spirit told us both very clearly and very kindly reproachful, "She needs the money you have on your person so she does not have to sleep on the street. If she sleeps on the street she will be harmed." Ok, then! I dug in my purse and had a few dollars and Joseph gave her the money we'd just taken out of the ATM for dinner. We had just enough for her to get a motel and get some dinner. The point of this is, to follow the spirit and when the opportunity presents itself give, and like King Benjamin teaches, it's not our place to worry about what they do with the money. Although if they look drunk or stoned I pass.