I had to call myself out last week. I found my self thinking wrongly , and doing something I would not do in good conscience .
I had gone out after digging myself out from a huge snow storm, so perhaps my mood was not quite right at the time. This is not an excuse that I will allow myself though.
I arrived at the grocery store I normally shop at. I go there as I find they have a great selection plus very reasonable prices. I personally hate wasting money when shopping for food, as I am very aware of so many that do not have enough to buy the proper food for themselves or their family. I witnessed this first hand after working so many years with the homeless as well as many single parents doing it all on their own.
One thing that I did with the families I worked with , was teach them budgeting. I also would take them shopping trying to show them different ways to get more for their money. Educating them in nutrition, and providing them with many recipes which they could use to feed their family, as well as possible, on a limited budget.
Okay, let me get back to what I wanted to share . I have a firm belief that we all have so much more that we can give to others to enrich them and "pay it forward"
It can be as simple as a smile given to a stranger or even just holding the door open for someone. It does not have to be a huge gesture to carry meaning or be appreciated. There are times though, that we are in the right place, at the right time, being able to help another human being .
This is why I always think of going out as a new adventure, because I never know whose life I may touch in a small way. I was disappointed in myself when this happened the other day. I knew almost instantly that I could not walk by and do nothing.
When I was walking into the store I saw a young black man standing outside. He had asked me if I could help him with some money for food. I had not answered him, just shook my head no and went inside the store. I proceeded to look for the list of things I needed, but somehow his face was playing in my mind. I was not comfortable with myself for being so blatantly uncaring. I know often people will ask for money for food and it goes instead to booze or drugs. I am playing this situation out in my mind, asking myself what is the best way to handle this. My decision actually was quite easy as I was in the perfect place to do the right thing. Let me buy some food and give this to the young man. Then I know he is getting food . I bought him some staples...milk, bread, fruit, vegetables, and some meat. Oh , and a chocolate bar because we all should have some treat too. I ended up not getting all the things I thought I needed ...as reality is that I have plenty of food and it seemed more important to do this instead.
I had not even thought if he would still be there when I left, but thankfully he was. I returned my shopping cart then walked back to speak with him. I am very straightforward , so I asked him if he wanted money for food or if it was for something else...He smiled at me, looked me straight in the eye and said food...he was hungry and had lost his job a couple of months ago. His eyes were clear and truthful... I gave him the bags of food I had bought and told him maybe this would help some. What a wonderful smile I got from him...I had a look inside his heart I do believe. We ended up talking for around an hour, giving him a list of places to go to get more help. Job centers, places that provide free meals, and I also sent him to the place I worked for years telling him to ask for Jackie and tell her Barbara sent him. This way I knew he would get extra help. The last thing I said to him was thank you. "Thank you for being so gracious as to allow me to help you in this small way..Maybe someday you will pay it forward, blessinngs "
This was simply a small way to help someone in need, and I knew he was put in my path for a reason. A little of my time, a small amount of money, and some needed information may just be able to help him turn things around. I pray so. More importantly, I knew I had done the right thing in my humble opinion.
Now I know we can not help everyone, but there are times when someone is meant to cross our paths , and we can gift another human being with a simple gesture of caring .