Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Carpe Diem 23

This is day 23 of my project to seize each day. You can learn more about what inspired this 30-day project here.

So, on day 23 I decided to stop talking about something and actually act.

I've always been conflicted about how to respond to homeless people. On the one hand I am a Christian and believe I should love my neighbor and share when they are in need. On the other hand I'm pretty jaded about homeless people. I understand some beg as a career, try to guilt you, or use the donated money for drugs or alcohol. And, where do you draw the line-if you give to one person shouldn't you give to the next? Do you give to the same person every time you see them? So, I've been really torn between my heart and mind about how I should respond in a way that satisfies my religious beliefs and what's practical.

It's especially been on my mind since I've been working in the city and see homeless people daily. I also happened to read The Jungle recently and felt even more concerned about humanity. So a few weeks ago I reasoned that I would keep a granola bar on me, so when I came across someone saying they were hungry I could give them something besides money. That way I could satisfy my religious belief to share with my brother in need and my practical belief that if someone says they are hungry I'll give them food instead of money so I don't enable a drug habit.

Well, day 23 on my way home there was a man sitting in front of the train station with a sign that said "Hungry" and a paper cup. I leaned over and asked him if he would like a granola bar that I had pulled out of my bag. In a condescending tone he said he had a whole stack of them, but what he really wanted was-and that's where I cut him off saying "oh, you don't want it. Okay." and walked away. I really didn't want to hear it.

So, now I'm feeling pretty jaded. I'll offer again eventually to someone else, but it's going to take a while not to feel so gullible.

What do you do when you see a beggar?

No comments: