Just take a ride in your car. What do you see around you? Poverty is normal and sadly not rare in the surrounding areas to where I live. Just drive a few miles and it’s not unusual to encounter someone in a position of dire straits. Sadly many, often perfectly capable people, or so it seems abuse the system and even make a living holding out their sign. Some get aggressive and pursue you, even talk nasty to you when things don’t go their way. But then on the other hand, how do I know what they are going through, things are seldom as they seem. By saying so I am passing judgement, and I forget that everyone has a story. Surely they have one too, and while they appear perfectly healthy to me, there maybe many underlying issues that prevent holding a normal job. Heck, am I any different? Some days going for hikes and doing great and other days struggling to put on my socks.
But anyways, what I was trying to say is that many needy people, holding out their signs get missed in this town because it is a normal sight. Including myself, I too have driven past these people in need with no particular feelings at the time. But today and another time before stood out and without words I felt somebody’s story and hardship without knowing the details. It was in the silence that got my attention, the unspoken words, the non pushy behavior, some sign that got my attention. Something, but I felt it.
I was on my way home eating a fried chicken strip from the store, as I saw a man standing at the corner. I never fully read his sign but immediately got a feeling from him. “Anything will help” it read. Out of the two chicken strips I only had one left, and still felt hungry. It wasn’t a matter of deciding and I knew right away that he needed it much more then me. I pulled over and almost felt embarrassed that this one chicken strip was all I had to give him, but I remembered the words on his sign. “Anything will help.” I reached the bag out of the window towards the man that most graciously accepted it and thanked me. Already my eyes filled with tears, and I was so overcome by this unknown to me story that I couldn’t help myself but send a blessing his way. Something was special about this man and something touched me to the core. This has happened before and I can’t explain it. It is one of those stories, one of those moments when you just know it all, without ever having to speak a word. And it was right then and there that I decided to look more consciously for those moments in 2020. To make a difference for others on a different level. To never forget how blessed and fortunate I am and to share and help at an even greater level to those less fortunate.
Hours later the experience of today and the man from the corner is still with me and I truly hope that he is ok tonight.