One small act
I go for a walk; I do it every day. I do it to clear my head, and let out all the junk I hear day in and day out. That’s what it is–junk, garble, noise, rhetoric, narcissism.
We talk about all the bad things going on but we don’t talk enough about the good things. I was taught that when you perform a good deed, you don’t talk about it. You don’t mention it. The universe knows what you’ve done. Society may look at it as bragging. I agree that when we do things we shouldn’t brag about what we accomplish, what we’ve created, how much money we make or have etc…
However, I argue that if we don’t share the good things we do–the things we do to make a difference–the things that are selfless, no one else learns the value and importance of doing them. One simple act, true to the form for which it is acted upon is full of pathos and knowledge of the human heart.
As I was driving home from a work meeting the other week, I happened upon a homeless man sitting on the curb. Unusual? No. We see it all the time. His sign read, “I will work for food. I will do any job needed for food.” It didn’t read, “I will work for money,” or “I’m starving, please give me money for food.” It struck a cord. Through my rear view mirror, I watched this man; his head hung low, neither staring at passersby nor ignoring them fully.
Where was I headed? Not home–not yet. I hadn’t eaten lunch myself and was headed to Panera to grab food. As I pulled into the parking lot, I sat in my car contemplating if I should get him something. I contemplated! “Well, I’ve already driven past him,” “He probably won’t be there by the time I’m out,” “Does he really want food or money?” Yes I thought these things. Like everyone else, I’ve barricaded myself by views and cynical thoughts on who we are as individuals. I went in, ordered, and in that split second, I ordered another complete lunch. Is Panera rather pricey? Yes. Did I care? No. If he threw it out, I would be none the wiser. It was a hot full sandwhich, apple, chips, and bottle of water. I retraced my steps, went back to the spot I saw him, and there he sat. I got out of my car and walked up to him. “Sir,” I said. “Here you go.”
He looked at me and smiled. He took the meal. Looking me square in the eyes, he said, “God bless you ma’am. Thank you so much.” Then he dug in.
His blessing of me will go farther than any one else’s kind words. Why? Because from the depths of his soul, he meant it. The power of taking a few extra minutes, going against the cynical thoughts that our society has created, and giving this man some food will have a domino effect for which I cannot see. I do not care of his circumstances. I do not care if he truly wants to work. I care that I reached out because he asked in his own way.
That my friends is making a difference. It will lead to better things. We just all have to try.