Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: DROP IN A BUCKET (10/24/19)
- TITLE: Judge Not the Homeless
By Laurie Staples
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As a rule, I simply walk past them, doing my level best not to make eye contact. The rationale for not giving resound in my head â€¦theyâ€™ll just use the money on booze and drugs.
But the few times I have given, Iâ€™ve always walked away feeling like I should have given more. Why didnâ€™t I? The little I gave was a drop in the bucket compared to what I was able to give.
Most of those Iâ€™ve given to are offering all they have to offerâ€”their musical talent. And, my goodness, are some of them ever gifted! Recently, a homeless saxophonist was playing his heart out but my friend and I walked right by himâ€¦until he broke out into the University of Michiganâ€™s familiar â€œHail to the Victorâ€ fight song. My friend graduated from there and was wearing a Michigan sweatshirt. He'd obviously seen it and wanted to play a meaningful song for her. She walked back to him and put a twenty dollar bill in his instrument case. â€œGod bless you!â€ He replied with enthusiasm. Every time Iâ€™ve chosen to give, thatâ€™s been the response: â€God bless you.â€ Every time!
Although, I havenâ€™t had the pleasure of flying with her, Iâ€™ve heard the stories about this particular flight attendant. When she arrives at her layover hotel, the first thing she does is find the nearest Subway, buy a dozen or so subs and hands them out to the homeless. As the story goes, she once had a sub thrown back in her face, but it hasnâ€™t deterred her, she continues her selfless practice. Sadly, unlike her, if my generous, selfless actions provoked an angry, violent response like that it would have put the kibosh to any more feeding of the homeless. Which proves to me my own giving is not only not sacrificial but is given with the expectancy of grateful heart as well.
In reality, Iâ€™ve only experienced one bad incident with a beggar and it wasnâ€™t even in my own beloved country. My daughter, Caitlin, and I were blessed to visit the city of Florence and while we waited in line to visit the Duomo, Caitlin stepped out of line to get a gelato. A young woman carrying a plastic cup inexplicably picked me out of the long line to beg money from. I tried to look away and ignore her but she was persistent, getting right up in my face, speaking urgently in Italian and shaking her cup right under my nose. I only had a ten euro bill in my purse and we needed it to get in. I tried (but obviously failed) to communicate to her that my daughter would be back soon with some change to give her, and so she angrily grabbed my and gave the top of it a hard, twisty pinch. Ouch!
Caitlin had an experience with a beggar while we were there too. She had gotten up early one morning to visit some churches. On the steps of one of them sat a very old, blind woman with a plastic cup. Caitlin felt moved to put a few coins in her cup and touch her cheek. The woman took Caitlin's hand and gently kissed the top of it. It brought tears to Caitlin's eyes. A kiss for Caitlin; a vicious, twisty skin pinch for me.
As a child, I remember my dad always opening his wallet and giving to beggars. All of us would ask him, â€œWhy did you do that? Theyâ€™re only going to buy alcohol with it!"
His answer was always the same, â€œWho am I to judge? I donâ€™t know how theyâ€™ll spend it or whatâ€™s in their heart. All I know is I have it and they donâ€™t.â€
Iâ€™ve been convicted be think like my dad. I really donâ€™t know anything about how all these beggars ended up where they are or how theyâ€™re going to spend the money. All I know is I have it, and they donâ€™t. And from now on I've decided thatâ€™s going to be enough for me.
â€œBe not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.â€ Hebrews 13:2 (KJV)
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