Have you been approached by a person in ragged clothes, asking for money for a meal? What did you do? Listen to this story of personal dragons. Perhaps you will be encouraged to be a beam of light.
Years ago I was Principal of a small design firm in Santa Cruz, California, and I used to walk with clients to local places for meals. Along the way, we would be “accosted” by a person “begging” for money for a meal. I was all dressed in a designer suit, decked with elegant jewelry, and discussing their design needs. Since we were deeply involved in conversation, we ignored the person and kept walking. I’m embarrassed to remember this old behavior, but then we are all growing humans and get lessons along the way.
One client walked with me and stopped when a person stopped and asked. He said, “I would be happy to purchase a meal for you. What are you hungry for now?”
Stopping in my tracks, I stared. My business associate had done what I had not had the courage to do when asked by people needing help. I felt like I flew out of my body and watched the scene as an intelligent, friendly gentleman with a gold watch guided a homeless person and a woman in a designer suit over to a local sandwich shop. They ordered food, and sat down together and silently ate, sharing company.
The homeless person saved half of his meal, wrapped it carefully and packed it in his backpack. He looked at us through his dirty face and knotty hair and said he wanted to draw a picture for us. Taking pencil and some crumpled paper from his pack, he laid it on the table. Smoothing out the paper the best he could, he skillfully sketched some dragons. He handed one to the man with me, who gratefully thanked the homeless man.
“I make you a picture, too, lady,” he said to me. Then he looked me in the eye, and it was as though I could see his story, hearing silent words, and feel for a soul who suffered in cold, loneliness and pain. Putting pencil to paper, he drew another picture of different dragons. The paper held his precious skill and time, and paper which he must have gathered and saved. Finishing it, he examined his hand-drawn picture, while sucking in his bottom lip. Then, looking at me with big open eyes, he moved it across the table to me.
As I picked up the sketch of dragons a million emotions ran through my veins. “Thank you,” I said. “You are a good artist.” I would know, too, because this was my business and he was far more skilled than me.
With a nod he picked up his pack and walked off. It was this day that I felt the gift that a homeless person passed to me. Touching his picture gave me empathy. It’s not that I had always been selfish, because I gave much of my time to organized charities like the Chamber of Commerce and Girl Scouts, but this was different. No one would ever know that we purchased a meal for this unknown man and gave him company to enjoy a meal.
BE A BEAM of Light and Kindness.
Please notice the people, standing in the cold or heat and give them a moment. Sometimes the deepest desire is just to be seen as a human being present in the moment. Being invisible is fine when you truly do not want anyone to find you, but these people may have gathered much courage to come up to you. So, come forward and take the time for an unknown act of kindness. Let’s make this a better place to live.
Dealing with Dragons.
Got some dragons of your own of which you need help? Looking for a Transformational Coach? If you need any more ideas or want to work on your own Self Actualization, contact us at Apositiva and see how far you can grow. Call Cat Wilson and enjoy a cup of tea, while you ask your questions or what it means to be Self Actualized. 503-525-0595.
Photo Credit: Fatima
Thank you to the person who posted this photo of a homeless person, which opened my memory to share this story.
Great story. You know, I read they’re actually trying to make it illegal to feed homeless people in LA? I cant believe I live in a world where that’s actually on the table.
Some of the most powerful moments in my life have been moments where I haven’t had the money to eat, and somebody shared their bounty with me, or moments where people have been brought to tears by my willingness to share just a tiny bit of my bounty with them in kind.
I can’t imagine a world in which you get fined or sent to jail for sharing that kind of human experience and joy with someone.
You show truly humane ideas that I hope you will share. Imagine a world where you are rewarded for helping others in beautiful and invisible ways that mean more! Thank you for your higher ideas! – cat
I love this story Cat. I remember while living in El Salvador, where begging is a business, a friend told me about how he was captivated by one (out of many) young boy. Instead of giving him money, he took the boy and bought him a meal and then purchased a shoe shine kit for him – everything he needed to start a micro enterprise. That boy continued to shine shoes until he was able to purchase a stand and a place where customers could come. Pretty cool, huh?
The problem is my heart goes out to the poor and thus I have been taken for a ride – so to speak. Recently, one very old woman really captivated me. She was near Powell’s and begging for money. I felt so sorry for her. I gave her some of the very small amount I have (sometimes I wonder if that will be me next). I found out afterward, that she does not need to beg for money, she just does it because it gives her something to do during the day. I almost think this is sadder. Not having learned my lesson, another older woman begged for money to ride the MAX. I gave it to her and she walked away – opposite of the MAX. Grrr! Oh well!
I think the thing is organizations to help the poor, homeless, etc are in much need of funds and by giving to them, rather than the individual, your money goes further. Giving a handout the money often goes to their addiction.
I have taken a homeless woman to lunch once. She didn’t talk much, but I did feel as if I had done something to help a soul.
Thanks for sharing this warm story Cat.
You’re so kind, Judith. I hear you, and it’s not easy to know how people will use the money, which is why I liked to thought of taking them to lunch. One time recently, I was asked and took a man to Baja Fresh. I also asked him if he liked coffee, which he enthusiastically replied, “Oh, yes.” It happened that Starbucks gave me a free card, because they forgot to make my coffee. I gave it to him, which made him happy… and my heart was happy, too!