I planned this post to be about my fabulous weekend that included my return to the stage, but that post will have to wait. Today, I had a moment that shook me to my core. It was a simple moment but a heart-breaking one.
It is easy for me to feel poor. I have a LOT of debt. I live in a small apartment. We depend on ancient vehicles that are held together with scotch tape and prayer. (A tremendous amount of prayer.) Our savings account is often rivaled by our children's piggy banks. There are many things that I do not have. Many things that I will never have. If I allow myself, I can feel poor.
But today, I sat at red light. A red light with a handsome man. A man about my age. A man without a home. I don't think that he has walked the streets long. While his clothes and hair were dirty and shaggy, they reflected a reasonable proximity to a more successful past.
I was a lane over and a few cars back as I debated whether to dig out change and offer it to him. And then the light changed. And cars started to move. So I started to move. And I drove off.
I could have gone back. I didn't. Instead. I cried for a few moments and then went on with my day. A day that was centered around Back-to-School shopping. Shopping. Because the reality is this. Yes, I need coupons to make ends meet. And yes, I buy many things second-hand. But I have never known more than a moment's hunger. The only nights I have spent outside the comfort of a bed involved a tent and a campfire. In other words. I am SO not poor.
The point of this post is not about my financial score card. Or that man's either. I have no idea how he got there. My mom always says, "there but by the grace of God goes I". So by the grace of God, I drove by and he stood. And what good did my tears do? They did him no good. I did him no good. Some Samaritan I am.
My husband and I often debate what to do when we see a panhandler. I sometimes give. He does not. The same dynamic is repeated in my parents. My mom does. My dad does not. I honestly don't know what is the right choice. I just know that I can still see him in my mind and as I prepare for bed, I fear I made the wrong choice by making no choice. I wonder where he will lie his head tonight. For even as I lay my head on my pillow, my head and heart are heavy. Very, very heavy,