I'm always up for supporting a good cause, which has lately led me to wonder if I actually have a neon "Sucker!!" sign over my head, or if God keeps putting me somewhere for a reason and that reason happens to include giving money away to a needy stranger.
I'm getting married in six months, and I work two and a half jobs so that we can not go into debt and have money to live on for the first seven months before B. finishes school and starts work. I've also been invited to 10+ weddings this summer, which makes me happy and my bank account sad.
Robert Frost understands me and "The Hardship of Accounting": "Nobody was ever meant/ To remember or invent/ What he did with every cent."
So what's a responsible girl to do? I keep my spending down where I can so gas money is manageable. I try to hold off buying wants because needs seem so unavoidable. I've also been approached a few times in the past month for money, and I feel like basic Christian charity has me give, because Christ is in all of us. Moreover, I'm more concerned with my intentions verses theirs, and I suppose it could be considered my unofficial way of tithing.
And tonight: tonight I went to the grocery store to pick up some chicken for my mom so she could make one of our favorite meals before my sister left for Europe for a month, and I was approached in the parking lot by a clearly desperate woman. She was carrying two soft bags, held a cigarette between two fingers, and swayed as she walked towards me.
She told me how her boyfriend beat her with a brick and she's run out of money and then, one by one, how seventeen people in her life have tragically died in two years, and her parents are living in the Florida Keys.
I stared at the huge gash by her right eyebrow that really needed stitches (or at least steri-strips). I used to carry boxes of granola bars with me in the car, but I would get hungry and eat them. I'm staring at her: either the best liar or the most down-on-her-luck woman. I chose to give her the benefit of the doubt.
I think I was in a shock-like state when I fumbled with my wallet and realized I had less cash then I thought; so I gave her about $20 and felt like a chump because I don't have any more money, and I was worrying about money earlier today, and here's this woman with absolutely nothing.
Then she hugs me and I hug her back, and I'm not sure which one of us is going to cry first. And now I wish I would have taken her inside of Walgreens and bought her food and vitamins and band-aids. So she says "God bless you" repeatedly after taking my money, and I stand there with Heather on the line, not hearing a thing of what she just said. That kills me. At least I know what I'll do next time this happens.
I hope you'll join me in saying prayers for this woman, and all people like this in similar circumstances! Lord, hear our prayers
Update: My Dad asked me why I didn't bring her home with me. Lord, I pray I have the courage of my Father one day!