if we are the body

But if we are the body
Why aren’t His arms reaching?
Why aren’t His hands healing?
Why aren’t His words teaching?
And if we are the body
Why aren’t His feet going?
Why is His love not showing
them there is a way?

~Casting Crowns~

What started as a casual conversation at the office today, blossomed into a story I feel mightily compelled to share. 

Well.

Because it’s just so dadgum cool. 

Several months ago youngest son found a $5 bill in the school hallway.  He took the cabbage to the school office and handed it over to the principal who praised him profusely for his deed.

Since that time, he has consistently found more ‘lost’ money.  Sometimes a penny or two on the sidewalk.  Sometimes a dime in the grocery aisle.  This week he found $1. 

A dollar bill. How often do you stumble over paper money? 

I mean, really.

He was ecstatic.  Because to a 9-year old, $1 can mean alot.  And since it was not where it could be returned to anyone, he got to keep it.  Youngest son firmly believes that because he did the good deed of turning in the $5 initially, that God is smiling on him saying, ‘Good job!  Here ya go!’

And.  Well.  I’m not going to dispute that.

So.

This morning in casual conversation about kids I told a co-worker the story.  Surprisingly, he thought it was awfully foolish for youngest son to have turned the $5 over to the principal in the first place. 

‘What’s the principal going to do with it?!  Pocket it, that’s what!’.

Harumph.

I told him that that may very well be the case, but it was more important that youngest son did the ‘right thing’ even if the recipient didn’t ultimately have the same good intentions.

Who knows.  I didn’t see the principal walking around with a Starbucks latte that afternoon paid for with ill-gotten gains.

But.  Sure.

Who knows.

Anyhoo.

The conversation took a left turn onto the topic of giving money to homeless panhandlers.  He was seriously appalled that anyone was so snookered as to give money to homeless people.  In fact, the conversation escalated to the point that he was getting rather pissed off about the ‘lazy, alcoholic, drug-taking homeless people who should just learn to help themselves and stop asking for handouts.’

GETAJOB.

Ironically this co-worker is a really good guy. 

He is. 

To say I was really surprised at how vehemently opposed he was to giving a buck or two to someone who was down on their luck is an understatement.  It was the usual, ‘If you give someone money they’re going to drink it away … blah blah blah.’

My position is that if you do something with the right intention, a good heart … should it matter to you what happens once that gift leaves your hands?  

I told him you help in the way that you can, the manner in which your conscience leads you too.  And, heck, if you don’t want to give people cash to fund their bad habits, you could always buy a few bucks worth of fast-food gift cards to hand out when approached.  I don’t recall them selling beer or weed at McDonald’s lately. 

He then asked me if I’ve ever been to a Detroit Tiger’s baseball game and witnessed the bevy of homeless people there begging for money after the game.  He asked me is it right to help only one if you can’t help them all? 

Good question.

In response, I asked him if he was walking by a pool where 10 people were drowning and he knew you couldn’t save them all … could he still walk by and let them all drown?  

Nope. 

You do what you can do.  You’d save the ones you could.

A second co-worker (bless his heart) stepped up and said, ‘Yeah.  And what if those 10 people jumped into the pool knowing they couldn’t swim.  Would you say, ‘Hey, sucks to be you.  Ya knew you couldn’t swim, ya knucklehead.  Poor decision on your part, now you’re in quite a pickle, aren’t you?!’

Nope. 

You wouldn’t stand there questioning why the person was drowning.  How perhaps his poor judgement bought him a trip to the bottom of the pool.

You’d help them.  You just would.

Sometimes people are homeless because of addictions.  Sometimes mental illness.  And, of course, sometimes because they are too lazy to get work and it’s easier to beg. Sometimes people are homeless because of very poor (ongoing) choices in life.

Absolutely.

However.

In our current economy I am often reminded of how very fragile life is for all of us every time I see an unemployed worker step in the front door of the office looking for a job and we have to tell them, ‘I’m sorry, but we even have some of our people on layoff right now.’  I think about it every time I watch the news or read the newspaper about the economy, about people losing their homes and living in their cars. 

In case y’all haven’t noticed … it’s a scary world we’re living in right now. 

We are all just one breath away from something that could turn our lives completely upside down. 

And in that vein, it would behoove us to remember how many times we turn away from those in need when we have something we can give.

So.

Co-worker left for an appointment shortly after our heated discussion.  An hour later, I get an email from his Blackberry.

Honestly?  It made me teary-eyed when I read it.
      

I give up.  All of that conversation this morning must have been for a reason.  Just getting off 94 at Rawsonville, there was a homeless man (and there is not normally one there) standing in the driving rain, with a “homeless please help” sign.

 Gave him a couple bucks. Couldn’t drive past.

 

Told you.  Way cool, eh?

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4 thoughts on “if we are the body

  1. Good for your son! Those values are instilled in us at a young age and it looks like you have done a fine job teaching him values. I actually have two stories to relate to this.

    1.) Several months back, I found a $20 and $10 bill folded up together in the parking lot of a gas station. Now, no one was looking and I could have easily put it in my pocket and been on my merry way, $30 richer. Believe me, I could have really used that extra money that night. But my parents didn’t raise me to steal. My only choice was to take it to the cashier, explain that someone dropped it and maybe they’d come back for it. Now, I knew in my heart that chances were the cashier would pocket that money. But that didn’t mean that I shouldn’t turn it in. As it was, there was a long line, and as I was waiting, a man walked in looking upset and fidgeting with his pockets, looking around the floor of the store, etc. I was staring at him because I knew it had to be him that dropped the bills. He looked up at me and said in a worried voice, “I think I lost some money”. You know, it felt great to tell him that I found it and hand that $30 over to him.

    2.) Today I was having a conversation with someone on my Team. We were talking about all the homeless people near our work. I admit that I rarely give the homeless money because I almost never carry cash. I use my debit card for everything. Now, even if I have cash, I rarely give money because I do feel like it would be wasted as it would go to alcohol, etc. I guess I always think back to a friend of mine that went to a sandwich shop, got food for a guy sporting a “Hungry. Need Food” sign and the homeless guy’s reaction was, “I don’t want your damn food, man!” That has always stuck with me. BUT… my co-worker today said that the other day, she had gone to pick up lunch at Popeye’s and passed by a homeless guy. She ended up giving him her lunch. She said that he was so grateful and was eating the food so fast that she knew he was truly hungry. It really made me rethink about things and realize that I can’t judge all homeless people by that one man that was rude to my friend. Now, after reading this blog, I know that I’ll never think that all are only trying to get drugs and alcohol. And a few weeks ago, I did give a few dollars to a guy who tried to convince me that he needed bus money to get to the other side of town.

  2. Oh Lori, you make me want to cry. Your stories are beautiful. How little it costs us to show kindness to another. 🙂

    And it’s like I told my co-worker when I emailed him back, it may not even be the actual money that you gave him, but maybe you just gave him something bigger than that … a little bit of hope.

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