Blessed Be (aka Your Lecture of the Day)
The other night as I was leaving work, headed for my boot camp class, a man approached me. He was about 40 years old, dressed in a jacket and jeans, looking like a normal guy on the street. And he was quite pleasant. He said “Excuse me ma’am, I hate to bother you but I’m wondering if you have some spare change? I’m homeless and the church doesn’t open until 10 and I was hoping to get something to eat.”
I live in a relatively small town and we don’t have a homeless problem here. In fact, to hear that this dude was homeless kind of shocked me as I wasn’t expecting it and also, y’know, he didn’t “look” homeless.
Of course I dug thru my bag and came up with four dollars. It’s what I had and it was enough for him to get a hot dinner at Tim Horton’s just down the street. He was very appreciative, saying “thank you, Dear” several times before heading on his way. As I was adjusting my gym bag back over my shoulder and heavy winter coat I thought for a second and then yelled “Hey! Wait a second.” He turned around and walked back to meet me. I asked him his name and introduced myself and shook his hand. I asked if he knew about the shelter/soup kitchen just on the other side of Town and told him I hoped he got a nice warm meal and had a good night.
As I walked toward my car I thought of many things: Four dollars doesn’t mean much to me / I was fortunate enough to have food in my fridge and well stocked freezer / my ass didn’t get this extra meat on it on its own / I am blessed with work / I am a very fortunate and thankful young lady / God made us all equal / I wonder if I’ll see him again / I wonder if he had soup for dinner.
I don’t know if my four dollars made a difference to him. But aside from giving him money I wanted to show him kindness and support. It must be humiliating to have to ask for money or admit one is homeless and I wanted it to resonate with him that he is still a person and he still matters.
Back before Halloween a homeless man, that many of us in my community knew, was burned to death. The little bus shelter that he slept in was set ablaze in a neighboring town and it’s left us all shocked and disgusted. Like I said, we don’t have a homeless problem in our little towns, it’s not an epidemic, but there are some people who do sleep their nights away in a church basement or in a baseball dugout. I doubt very much that they thought their lives would end up the way they are. And sometimes all it takes to turn things around is a simple act of kindness and support.
Let this be your lesson of the day to show everyone kindness and respect. (Unless, of course, they’re dicks.)
You never know what kind of magic can come from a person with no place to call home: