This I Believe

Steve - Raleigh, North Carolina
Entered on December 21, 2006
Age Group: 50 - 65

Driving to work the other day, exiting off the interstate, there was the fellow I often see. He is a homeless man; at least that’s what his cardboard sign reads; it reads, “I’m homeless, living in the woods; please help me if you can; God bless”. He works his way down the line of cars hoping for that help. I’ve seen some people give him money; I’ve seen others give him food. I never gave him anything until that day.

It was a beautiful late-fall morning. It was a day or so before the holidays, and as many do that time of year, I was feeling cheery and bright. I thought about the gifts I bought for my family and friends; I thought about the good times to be had enjoying the usual holiday traditions; I thought about how grateful I should be in my life-situation. I thought about how grateful so many of us should be for having what we do.

On that one day, on that beautiful morning in December, I opened my window and gave this fellow money. I gave because I believed that in so doing, at that moment in this man’s life, I could make a difference. I gave, I thought, so that he could eat, or maybe buy a warm cup of coffee, or quite simply, know that I cared about him as a fellow human being. I looked him in the eye as I handed him money; he looked back with humble appreciation.

I believe that expression of caring should be given every day. While I believe it was appreciated that I gave money to the fellow at the exit, I believe, even more, that what he appreciated most was that I cared. Giving is easy; caring is more profound. Caring is a meaningful glance, a pleasant gesture, a few simple words. This I believe…I believe that when I give, it brings thanks; when I care, it brings fulfillment and the thought that I made something truly better.

I believe it is wonderful to give; it makes us feel good. When I care though, I feel that I’ve given more than the act could ever return.

The next day as I exited off the interstate, I saw the same fellow walking the line of cars. Some people gave, some did not. When he got to my vehicle, he glanced in at me and recognized me from the day before. He didn’t want money from me, he didn’t want food; he gave me a certain glance, and at that moment, I believed that he knew I cared.