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Hi friends! It feels like its been a while. It’s been one of those weeks where you live a lifetime in a few short days. I’ve taken a child to camp for three weeks, we’ve visited what we call home for a few days, seen some friends, walked down Memory Lane in so many ways and well, here I am….no worse for the wear and tear.
I mentioned that we took my oldest son to camp. He will be gone for three weeks living on a college campus. After we dropped him off, we walked around the campus and the town area with my second son. The area is a fairly upscale area and we watched a bike race, browsed through the shops and enjoyed the beautiful day. As we were preparing to walk back to the car and head back home, we stopped in a CVS to get some drinks for the drive. In the middle of this gorgeous, happy day, there was a man collecting change and obviously struggling in many ways. It bothered me….We gave him some money and walked inside. Not seconds after we entered the store, he entered behind us and went to grab some snacks that he paid with in change. Immediately after paying for his inexpensive snacks, he sat back down where he had originally been. I watched him for a while. I wondered how people were able to walk by and not say a word. Then I remembered that I too had passed by a couple quite recently in my own area and was unable to do anything to help. I also thought about when I worked in a major city. There came a point where I became immune to their struggle. I saw 10+ people every day collecting change and eventually, I stopped feeling the sadness. I think it’s your minds way of protecting you from too much sadness. But as I watched him sit there, head down, I became scared. Scared that we are capable of shielding ourselves from the true pain that is out there. Scared that we are able to become immune to what I consider our social responsibility.
I know the arguments, I know that people say that there are more productive ways to go about getting yourself help. Its probably true….if you have the capabilities. If life has not overwhelmed you to the point that you are just a shell, and are no longer present in any moment – just getting by. I know that people feel that they cannot be sure of the poverty or struggle of those they see. I know that they feel that they cannot give to everyone….again, both of these are true. If you choose to give to people in need, you cannot verify that they are truly in the struggle. There are always ways to “trick” any system. But, does this mean that we just stop giving altogether? Does it matter if they are poor in spirit or poor in monetary means? Is the act of giving truly between you and that person or is it between you and God? See, if I give to someone and they are a fraud, my act of kindness isn’t diminished. I still helped another, I still did as I feel I am called to do. I still put good in the world. For them? They can take that issue up with God – it isn’t my concern or frankly, my business. And as far as not being able to give to everyone, no you can’t. But give to someone and for that moment feel their struggle without any judgment. It makes you more compassionate, it makes you more understanding – it makes them less bitter and for the moment makes the world seem a little less rough of a place on their spirits.
I watched that man with his head down and I felt that sadness. I know that there are people who say that they are “scammers” but I think there is a lot of emotional pain behind each and every person who is out on the streets panhandling. Most of us have a built-in sense of pride that prevents us from asking too much of another. Now I don’t know if its good or bad, but I know its there. Many of the people that you see panhandling have been stripped of that pride. The world has probably dealt them a hand that you couldn’t imagine. There are flaws in the reasoning, in the method that they go about asking for help, but they are still in need of that very help or kindness.
I choose not to judge any one person’s belief system. Live your life in the best way you know how. Most of us are all doing the best we can at any given moment. Whether you see Jesus as God or as an amazing individual that walked the face of the earth isn’t for me to pass judgment on. But, it shouldn’t escape any of our thoughts that Jesus, Mother Theresa and countless other amazing individuals chose to spend their time ministering to these very people, people in need. They found God in them, they never walled off their compassion. I think it speaks volumes in how we are called to care for others – and I know so many in our little community already do. =)
For whatever you have in life, be thankful. As always, I have no answers, but think it is so important to ask ourselves about these issues.
In love and kindness,
Email Elizabeth & Heather
How we work
We are an online community of kind-hearted individuals who directly donate gently loved children's clothes to mothers who could use a little kindness. The wonderful donating mothers lovingly box up the clothes that they once loved their own kiddos in and send them for another mother to love on her children via the US Mail - Parcel Post. If you are in need, know someone in need or want to help by donating, please contact us at email@example.com. If you can't do any of these but would like to spread our message - thank you kindly! ~ Elizabeth & Heather