I never give money to homeless. I say this not with pride or shame, but just a simple statement of fact. I just don't. There are alot of reasons....I never have cash on me. If I do have cash I need it for something else. Or I just don't trust that they will use it for food. All of these reasons are true. Absolutely.
Does it make my actions correct? I don't know. I donate quilts and clothing to the homeless shelter. I contribute to the office food drive. I'm a good person...
However, that being said, yesterday I drove to the liquor store on my lunch hour. We were invited to a friends house for dinner and I wanted to bring a nice bottle of wine for them. I enjoyed a leisurely 30 minutes in the liquor store browsing the selection of wines. I love wine. I love the pretty bottles they come in. I love the way they are stacked in rows for my enjoyment and perusal. I love the first sip of wine with a good meal.
But eventually I made my purchase and wrapping my coat a little tighter around myself I hurried to my car. Out of the corner of my eye I noticed a gentleman sitting on the parkstrip with a cardboard sign. I got into my car, started the heater and strapped on my seat belt....all the time watching this gentleman.
He was probably in his late 50's? I'm a terrible judge of age so this is my estimate. He was wrapped in an old moss green pea coat. His beard was matted and dirty. He looked emaciated. It broke my heart. He looked like my father....my father is sickly and emaciated looking too. (Health issues that are too long to get into at the moment).
I had $5 in my purse. I had been planning on buying myself lunch before heading back to work. I did have the $5 earmarked for something for myself but before I realized what I was doing I had rolled the window down in my car and offered him my $5.
He walked over to my car. He stunk of dirt and sadness. I was nervous, sad and concerned all at once. He thanked me for the money. I reminded him that it was supposed to snow the next day (which is today and boy is the snow coming down!) and asked him if he had a warm place to go. He assured me that he did. He spoke beautifully and intelligently. He told me that he had spent 40 odd years hating the world and was just now learning to see the good in people. He talked a little about his time in Vietnam and about a sister that he had recently reconnected with. He told me of his travels. He was eloquent. He was kind. He made me humble.
It was the best $5 I had ever spent.
My wish flower? I wish that this man find the peace he is looking for. I wish that I will never forget this lesson he taught me. I wish, wish, wish for better for both of us.