Sign of TruthAs things seem to be turning for the worse economically, it appears that the street corners are growing evermore crowded with people who are holding out their hand, seeking help. At times, I feel irritated by my fellow humans whom I judge to be "strong enough" or "healthy enough" to be working a job, rather than hanging around holding cardboard signs or prowling through parking lots asking for change. And, of course, there is the common argument, "They don't want the money for food. They're just gonna buy booze with it."
If I choose to give someone money, my accountability is for the attitude in which I give my money and the reasons behind it. What they choose to do with the money is on their shoulders. Occasionally, though, I do take a moment to really look into the faces of some of these people and find their eyes to be tired and their mouths turned downward. Some of them choose to give a lengthy description of their woes on their cardboard signs. Others tout their past war experience or their ailments, injuries or not-so-obvious deformities. But each has a common bond... they are requesting help.
The other evening, I stopped at a red light and glanced to my right. There, on the corner, was a man holding a sign. I looked for only long enough to make note that the person standing there was, indeed, asking for money. As I glanced away, the first line of his sign sank into my brain and I looked back to read...
Why lie? I want beer.
I laughed until I couldn't breathe. I drove down the road, laughing and pondering this man's sense of humor and direct approach. About 30 seconds later, I decided to turn back around and stopped at the same intersection, rolled down the window and handed the man some money. All the while, I was chuckling.
"God bless you," he said, giving me a toothless grin.
"Enjoy your beer," I replied.
His grin broadened and he replied again, "God bless you."
I drove off, still laughing about the situation and feeling happy. There was something about his direct, honest approach that appealed to me. He chose to be truthful about it and I felt inspired. If he was able to be truthful about his intent in a moment that I judged to be full of shame, I imagine that I, too, could be truthful about my own intents.
© Angie K. Millgate 5/11/09