There came a time when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom. ~Anaïs Nin

Monday, April 25, 2011

The Spirit is Willing

And sometimes God is silent, choosing to let us work things out for ourselves.

I drove my son back to college this morning.  We got an early start so I didn’t eat breakfast.  After dropping him off, I headed back toward the main drag where there were plenty of choices to get some food.  I happened to pick Whole Foods, feeling like I should choose wisely after binging on chocolate the day before.

As I pulled out of the parking lot, I was confronted with the same homeless man that I saw last week, which I wrote about in The Ugly Truth.   And the same questions came to mind as to whether I should get involved.  Only this time, I had the added pressure of feeling like God was testing me by offering me another chance to do the right thing.

As I looked at the man I thought that he seemed harmless.  Looking rather like a lost puppy standing in the street with his cardboard sign.  I didn’t feel like he was a threat, but just then I thought back to when I was 17.  I was on my way to work and my car broke down.  Standing helplessly on the side of the road, a nice man pulled over to offer his assistance.  He was very kind, probably about 10 years older than me, and offered me a ride to work.  I gratefully hopped into his car, and made it to my job on time.

Feeling rather pleased with myself that I still managed to get to work, I called my parents to inform them about the car, still sitting on the side of the road.  When they asked me how I got to work,  well, let’s just say I had to pull the phone far away from my ear.  I don’t remember the conversation word for word, but I do remember something about having no brain in my head, what was I thinking, and where was my common sense.  Oops.  Not that I blame them, though. If my own daughter got into a car with a strange man, she would hear that and then some.

So keeping in mind that perhaps common sense isn’t my strong suit, I still considered that doing something was better than nothing.  And if I offered him some money, what could happen?  I followed that thought to two possible outcomes, visualizing the headlines in the morning paper as this: 

Random Act of Kindness Inspires Homeless Man to Change His Life or
Serial Killer Posing as Homeless Man Claims Next Victim.

Suddenly the man looked less like a puppy and more like Hannibal Lecter.  So once again, I drove past with my window tightly shut and decided to pray instead.  First for the homeless man, and second for me.  I asked God to please make it clear to me if this was a lesson in kindness and generosity or a lesson in common sense.

I’m still waiting for an answer…


  1. Very well said. We all can relate to this one, especially me. Keep up the great work, my blogger sister!

  2. It is always a tough call, isn't it? And I do just what you did. And yes, I beat myself up about it later. I have a friend that buys McDonald's and Subway gift cards and gives them to people like that. Maybe that is an answer for both of us.