Sunday, August 26, 2007

Don't we all?

I was parked in front of the mall wiping off my car. I had just come from the car wash and was waiting for my wife to get out of work. Coming my way from across the parking lot was what society would consider a bum.

From the looks of him, he had no car, no home, no clean clothes, and no money. There are times when you feel generous but there are other times that you just don't want to be bothered. This was one of those "don't want to be bothered times."

"I hope he doesn't ask me for any money," I thought.

He didn't.

He came and sat on the curb in front of the bus stop but he didn't look like he could have enough money to even ride the bus. After a few minutes he spoke..

"That's a very pretty car"

He was ragged but he had an air of dignity around him. His scraggly blond beard keep more than his face warm.

I said, "thanks," and continued wiping off my car.

He sat there quietly as I worked. The expected plea for money never came.

As the silence between us widened something inside said, "ask him if he needs any help." I was sure that he would say "yes" but I held true to the inner voice.

"Do you need any help?" I asked. I expected nothing but an outstretched grimy hand. Instead he spoke the three words that shook me out of my world..

"Don't we all?"

I was almost thrown out of my 'high and mighty-successful and important-above a bum' attitude that very moment, as those three words hit me like a twelve gauge shotgun.

Don't we all?

I needed help. Maybe not for bus fare or a place to sleep, but I needed help. I reached in my wallet and gave him not only enough for bus fare, but enough to get a warm meal and shelter for the day. Those three little words still ring true.

No matter how much you have, no matter how much you have accomplished, you need help too. No matter how little you have, no matter how loaded you are with problems, even without money or a place to sleep, you can give help. Even if it's just a compliment, a different perspective on life, a glimpse at something beautiful, a respite from daily chaos—you CAN give that help.