The other day, while exiting a local fabric store, I was approached by a woman who had "desperation" written all over her frantic face. She shook in noticeable fear as she asked me if I would like to buy "anything at all" so that her sons could eat that night. She said that she was homeless and living in a hotel, and she was holding a bag of hand-made crafts of some sort. From her appearance and demeanor, my first instinct was that this woman was on drugs and trying to hustle me, but my heart strings most always get pulled in the other direction--the direction of compassion, empathy and sorrow. The fact that this woman's situatioin is so far from my daily experience makes me stop in my tracks with the realization of how "lucky" so many of us are...EVERY time. Sometimes I bow my head and say a silent prayer for these individuals without giving them money, but most often I give something, no matter how small.
I listened to her story and I gave her $5.00 -- I don't know if it was used to buy food or if it bought something illegal. I pray that my heart's intent prevailed and that she used it in a productive way. I looked her in the eye and told her that I really hoped for her life to get better. She thanked me profusely and I walked away. These incidents always affect me as I choose to live with the awareness of being fortunate and giving back to those who aren't--Hoping always that one small gesture can facilitate the next, and that the pay-it-forward philosophy will prevail over the greed and selfishness that sadly exists in this world.
Aside from the homeless and hunger problem that devastates this world, there are also the countless disasters that unexpectedly occur such as the recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Our donations this month will most definitely be sent to the Red Cross to assist with the Japan relief efforts.
If you are having a day of good fortune, I hope that it only continues for you...please remember those that aren't. One person can make a difference in the life of another -- this, I know.