This I Believe

Terry - Canton, Michigan
Entered on September 18, 2006

As I walked around my building in Detroit, a homeless person approached me asking for a dollar for food. When I reached to give him change, my friend told me that the money will be used for drugs. Neither my friend nor I will ever know what will the person use the dollar for. The dollar means nothing to me but it may curb his hunger for few minutes. I don’t judge my friend for what he believes and I hope that he will not judge me. We all have different perspective on this subject.

Based on various comments I heard on this subject, some of us believe that beggars are nuisances who disrupt our manicured lives with their hapless wants. Some of us believe that these beggars are lazy drug addicts. Some of us even sneer at their lives and believe that people choose such a life style and therefore deserve our lack of compassion. I am often astounded at the advice that my generous and wonderful friends give me about the dollar I dole to a beggar yet I never hear a whimper when I pay for unnecessary expensive food and drinks at the bar.

It is not that my friends are not generous, they are! They give their money to variety of causes that help beggars have better lives. As for my practice of giving the person on the street, I give not because I am generous, for a dollar does not curb a person’s hunger nor does my dollar deprive me from a lifestyle of privilege. I give because I am always getting a sincere and heartfelt blessing from the person who receives my extra dollar or change. Their graciousness pierces my heart and I feel very blessed. When I take a moment and look into their eyes I see a grateful heart. Sincere blessings are hard to come by, in today’s world but for one dollar a person on the street gives it me in abundance.

I believe their generosity and their blessing far exceed my dollar donation.

I believe that the dollar that I give to this person is more important to them than it is to me. For whatever reason they are on the street and therefore their status in life has been demeaned by society, but I noticed that regardless of their wretched circumstances they never lost the ability to be gracious even when the gift is meager, a lesson I will keep in my heart to live by. I believe the person who receives my dollar teaches me the value of the dollar I discard without grace.

As I assess my giving habit, that my generosity only extends to the extra money I posses. I have never deprived myself from living a life of leisure. I believe that I have never missed a meal because I gave. To my shame I only give what I don’t need. Maybe one day, God will give me the grace to share from what I need. In the meantime, I believe that I am more in need of the beggar’s blessing than they are in need of my dollar. I also believe that the test of my generosity or lack of it will be proven when and if I share of something that I need. In the meantime, I hope that I will be as gracious as the homeless person on the street by giving them the dollar without a fan fair or trumpet.. This I believe!