Monday, September 21, 2009

Compassion

Whenever I see a homeless person living on the street, my heart is just filled with compassion and sadness at the same time. I don't know the circumstances that led the individual to that place, but I can tell you that I would want someone to be compassionate to me if I were ever in that position.

Today, we were on our merry way to take our little Papa Chulo to his 9 month check-up (I can't believe he is 10 months already!), when I noticed the gas light on. I was already running late, and debating whether I should just chance it in hopes of making it without running out of gas, or stopping and wasting a few minutes of needed time. Of course, pulling over was the logical thing to do because I sure couldn't manage running out of gas on the freeway with three little ones (I am afraid of too much!). Off we went and I was pumping gas and trying to take care of some other things while the gas price was dwindling down my bank account.

I happened to look up and noticed a very dirty, thin, homeless man rummaging through the trash can. It wasn't the typical going through the trash can to recycle, no, he was looking for food. I watched him for a few seconds, as well as the people who were near him pumping gas. I wanted to see their reactions and to see if he was going to ask for money. This man just continued to eat the food he found in the trash, while others looked disgusted with him and drove off. As I finished pumping gas and sealed up my tank, I noticed he had come to the trash can near me and found some more food. He was in his own world, excited to have food for his hungry, shaking body. Not once did he bother a single person for a dime.

It's rare if I have money on me, as my ATM card is my "cash", so I scrounged around for some change finding a little over $2. I hate to give money to homeless people because I want them to use it for food, and would much rather ask them what I can buy them for a meal than hand over the money. Buying him food wasn't possible because of my time crunch, and I would have to unload 3 little ones at a gas station to get him something to eat. I got his attention and gave him the money, and his countenance and voice had so much delight in it. He was so very thankful, kind, and sweet. I told him he was welcome and then went on my way. As I rounded the station to get out, I noticed we had a protein granola bar in the car, and turned around and gave it to him. Again, sheer delight and a huge thank you.

As I drove off, Bella was intrigued by all that had gone on with this stranger. After explaining why I had given him money she was filled with overflowing compassion. Here was some of our dialog on the way to the doctors office.

Me: Bella, do you see how he's very skinny and dirty?

Bella: uh huh

Me: He doesn't have a home like we do with a shower, warm blankets, and food to fill his tummy

Bella: Why?

Me: Because he is homeless and lives on the streets. He goes through the trash cans and tries to find food for his tummy there.

Symphony: Well, he can get a bag and fill it with water, tie it in a knot, hang it from a tree, poke little holes in it, and he'll have a small shower (my little inventor)

Me: Great idea Symph!

Bella: Well, he can live at our house

Me: Bella, he's a stranger, we can't have strangers living at our house

Bella: Mom, if you go back and ask him his name, then he can live in our house

Me: Bella, just because we know his name, it doesn't mean he isn't a stranger.

Bella: Well, why can't he live in his car?

Me: He doesn't have a car babe

Bella: Well, I know, we can give him our car to sleep in

Me: Bell, we need our car

Bella: I know, we can give him a motorcycle from the motorcycle guys to sleep on (she's obsessed with motor-cross racing lately).

Me: Babe, he can't live on a motorcycle

This little dialog went on with her all night long as she thought of more ways to help this man. I was blown away to see how much compassion her little heart had for this one stranger that impacted her life in just a short few minutes.

The three of us talked all the way to the doctors office about making little care packages for homeless people, like our friend Kellee does. I need to make my way out and purchase a few things to put them together to have on hand when we are blessed to meet up with one again.

We were all shown how very thankful we should be for where we are and all that God has blessed us with. You never know where you can end up, but remember that they are people just like us, and had it all going for them at one time. Life is hard, be compassionate :)

1 comment:

Susan said...

When we lived in Maryland, I could hardly believe how many homeless people there were. I spoke to a priest about it when we lived there and he told me that if ever I was unable to help them in any physical way (I had told him that I wanted to help the homeless but I just didn't know how, especially since I didn't want to simply be handing out money to them in case the wouldn't use it for good, and that I didn't see it as very safe with my kids in tow to take strangers to get food or clothing), that I should be sure to tell the person that we would pray for them, and then to pray for them with my children (out loud) together, so that they could know the power of prayer and see that your intentions are right. I always ask their names, too. It just makes it more real, but sometimes there isn't time for that sort of chit chat.

I remember that someone used to always tell me to tell the homeless, "I'm sorry, we already give at our church." And that felt so wrong to me as far as truly helping and answering a person goes.

Anyway. I'm glad that your Bella is so dear. Jonathan is very sensitive like that as well. Andrew's like, "Hey! Want to play? Let's go to my house!"

Nicole and I came up with a way to give food/meals to homeless people without having to give them actual cash - buy a bunch of $5 or $10 fast food gift cards for places in your area and hand them out - I would include a note as well.

Anyway. I should have just emailed you this, but I'm in a hurry now so I have to go!

Love, Susan