Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Standing in the shadows

My son and I recently stopped by the library to drop off some overdue books. I decided to just use the drop box and deal with the fines the next time we stop in. As I pulled up I noticed movement in the shadows by the drop box - a man was standing in the shadows. I almost didn't notice him.

As I walked up, he said good morning and made little comments as he smoked his cigarette. My guess is that he is one of the homeless men living in a local shelter. The men have to vacate the shelter during the day and they often hang out in front of down town businesses. I started hoping to just drop off my books and leave, but before I could slide into my car and make my escape, it happened. He asked if I had any change. This is always an awkward moment. What if he uses the money for drugs or alcohol? Is it my responsibility to keep him from using the money for something I don't think he needs. What difference would my change make? It won't get him a job or a home. It won't change his circumstances long-term.

At the same time, I know I've got cash. I'm about to take my son to lunch. I can afford to give this man a little money.

It was Good Friday. I decided I could share a little of my abundance and let the man be responsible for his own choices on what he did with the money. I was still uncomfortable about the whole thing. I feel like I'd rather avoid down town than confront the reality of the poor and the homeless. It's awkward. I'm uncomfortable.

Maybe that's the point.

1 comment:

  1. This used to be and sometimes still is...me. But working at the CC has helped me get beyond some of the awkwardness. You could have responded either way, but one thing I believe is important ~ you acknowledged him as a person. It's his choice whether he makes good choices. You allowed the spirit to lead you. What do we gain if we continually avoid the uncomfortable things in life? Well done, my friend.