I'm warning you guys... I'm in a very deep state of mind today.
Today while on our way to the grocery store, we passed a man holding a sign. It said "Will work for food." This is the second time since we moved to this area nearly 5 years ago that I have seen this man. He is an Army Vet and my heart breaks for him... I don't know his back story but I wish I did.
I grew up with a father who, when he saw a homeless person or someone begging, would say "Get a job you bum!". It was embarrassing as a child and now as an adult, I'm horrified at the memories of how he behaved. But I knew as soon as I saw this man, I wanted to help him. I checked my purse for cash, no cash. So I continued on to the store, bought a few groceries for him and some other staple items, got cash back at the check out and we were out the door. I was afraid if I didn't hurry, he would move on and I'd miss him.
As we are sorting the items we bought for him into a bag, my oldest (10) says, "He's lucky we are helping him." When he said that, it made me stop and think for a second about how to respond. I mean really, is he lucky we are helping him? No not really... There aren't a lot of things that I have to stop and think about before I answer my kids. Most of it at this point is pretty automatic. But when he said that it made me pause for some reason. I realized we were the lucky ones... To be able to help this man. So that's what I said, "Actually Alex, we are lucky to be able to help him."
We packed in the rest of our groceries and headed up the road, he was at an intersection so I had to do a bit of turning to get to him. We pull up, roll down the window, say hello, and he approaches the car. Alex hands him the bag of stuff and I reach him a bit of cash. He asks if he could please do some work for us and I respond with a thank you but no, he says God bless, I say you too and we drive off. It took like 30 seconds of interaction but it had an impact on me none the less. For a lot of reasons...
It makes me feel like I take the things I have for granted even though I try to always appreciate everything we have. I feel like I am not "giving back" enough, like I'm not contributing to the greater good. I also feel like I'm not teaching my children to be as appreciative as I thought I was. My hubbs is blessed with a wonderful job that pays well above average for our area. We live in a nice home and I drive a nice car. My children have all the new gadgets, toys, and video games. We have clothes to wear, food to eat, beds to sleep in. Do we take it for granted? I'm afraid we do...
There are so many things you have to do as a parent, so many things to teach them. It's hard to keep up with it all and I know I leave out important stuff. All I can do is try to get remember as many important things as I can, show them I love the unconditionally, and teach them the best values I can.
I'll be thinking of the man with the sign for the rest of the evening... Wondering if he has a place to sleep tonight, if he has dinner, if he has family. Today I will be even more thankful than I normally am. I'll hug my kids a little longer and talk to them about our appreciating our many blessings, as well as blessing others when you can.