Ruth and I spent today in New York City. It's a two hour train ride from up here in Derby. Among other things that we did, we went on a quest for a McDonald's. That sounds sicker than it was. They had a program on the Travel Channel that Ruth watches, listing the top 10 McDonald's restaurants. From what I remember, number 3 was in Hell.
Their flame-broiled big Macs are supposed to be fantastic, served on a pitchfork. One of the top ten is in New York City, where they have live music and waitresses. A big Mac still tastes like road kill, even if someone serves it to you. But, being the dutiful husband, we trekked from McDonald's to McDonald's because Ruth didn't know what street it was on. Finally after our search for the holy Broil fell through, I was getting hungry so at the fourth or fifth McDonald's, I suggested we eat there. That shows how desperate I was.
No sooner had we sat down than a young black man approached us, asking for change. You could tell that he wasn't "seeding" the pot like they do in tip mugs, putting singles and five dollar bills in to keep you throwing a nickle in there. This young man had a dime a nickle and two pennies in his hand. I didn't see him approaching, so when he asked me for change I shook my head, "No." After he moved on, I felt the desire to give him something, but I didn't want to pull a few pennies out of my pocket. When I pulled out my billfold and opened it, the first thing I saw was a five dollar bill. And I thought, "Why not, he needs it a lot more than I do." I pulled it out, walked over to the young man who by then had asked another dozen people with no contributions, and placed the five dollar bill in his hand. He stuck it in his pocket without looking, and then embraced me, repeating God Bless you! over and over again. I thanked him and told thim that God does, and wished him a good day.
When he left, I went to sit down and resume my McChicken Sandwich, my Mcfries and my McCoffee. No sooner had I sat down, then the young many appeared again, beaming from ear to ear. Apparently, he'd gone outside and fished the bill out of his pocket, expecting it to be a dollar bill only to discover that it was a fiver. He was so excited!
He thanked Ruth and me repeatedly and once again asked God to Bless us. It was a sweet experience.
When I lived in New York City, I slowly became encrusted with indifference. I'ts hard to avoid that when you live there. It was the primary reason why I felt that I had to get out of the City. Old voices would have said, "He's just going to use that money to buy drugs." And who knows, maybe he was. But somehow, I didn't think so.
Besides, thinking had nothing to do with it. It was an act of love.
Love is never completely in vain.
Later, I remembered that we watched Sullivan's Travels last night and there is a scene where Sullivan walks through the slums, giving five dollar bills to people who are down and out. We may not be that far away from a depression here, and maybe the image stayed in my mind. Whatever prompted me to pull out the five dollar bill, I felt good about it. Which reminded me of the chorus of a song I wrote a long time ago:
Love may be fickle, Love may be vain
Ignored or rejected, but all the same
Whatever the cost, love is never in vain
For love lifts the lover
Good for you, i always give to someone when they come up to me. It really doesn't matter what they do with it, hopefully they buy food. What matters is that we gave it in the eyes of God. You never know when your entertaining an angel unawares or what about wishing them God's speed and send them away wanting. Good job!