Tuesday, July 12, 2011


"Today it is very fashionable to talk about the poor. Unfortunately, it is not fashionable to talk with them."

-Blessed Mother Teresa 

He sits on the curb on the way to the grocery store. I met him when it was raining though I'd passed him before. Turns out he used to struggle with alcohol and substance abuse problems and went to prison but now he is clean and trying to find work. He's moved around from D.C. to North Carolina and back, but now he's struggling because social services have his records mixed up and the man he needs to talk to about it is on vacation for another week. Really nice man with beautiful blue eyes. He talked about getting clean and how you have to get clean before you can expect to do anything else. Now, he's living on the streets and looking for a job and trying to make it by utilizing the showers in shelters, asking for spare change on the streets to buy clean socks & underwear etc, and waiting to hear back from social services. I asked him if he wanted any groceries and he seemed surprised, "Sure, I'll take anything, maybe a sandwich or something" and later when I brought him the sandwich and some fruits he seemed surprised that I had returned. When I walked up to him with the food he called out Hey there, Sarah! as if he were greeting an old friend. I loved that.

I hated that I passed James by the first 2 times I saw him and that it took a third time to actually stop and look into his eyes and see his humanity, his heart. This city, this world is so fast paced that sometimes I don't even know how I end up where I end up because it's all such a rush. I can't help but wonder who else I have passed or what other opportunities to learn from others or to share what I have with others or chances to feed the hungry with a granola bar (chewy bars=nom nom nom) I have in my purse or just listen to someone who needs to be heard, like, how many of those opportunities have I sped past in order to beat the line at Starbucks (veinte iced white mocha lite ice no whip half pump = sigh) or to get back to the dorm to take a nap? I don't know why the homeless & impoverished are on my mind and heart so much lately, (other than the fact that I've seen more in the past few weeks than I have in my whole life...) but I just want to do something about it and it sucks that I can't get them all sandwiches... and assistance... and employment opportunities... and access to healthcare... and homes.

Another note: One thing that breaks my heart is when I feel like I am being scammed. Another day I will write about the 2 women whose authenticity I really want to believe in... but I can't. I've talked to them multiple times and asked questions and just circumstances and different factors considered... it doesn't add up. I hate that there are scammers out there because approaching strangers is a big step for some in and of itself, let alone having to judge a person's genuine need for charity in the brief window of time you have with them. I hope very much that those 2 women are sincere, or that they are being insincere about their poverty and that they are actually doing well- but I wish that, if the latter were the case, they would stop what they're doing. When I meet people who live on the streets I like to ask them questions to get an idea of where they're coming from, what their heart's context is, and get an idea of their sincerity or openness and maybe I'm naive to trust the stories of some of these people I have met, but I feel like I'm being careful with what I believe. So far I haven't encountered anyone that sent up a fishy flag except those 2 women... and a banjo player... but that's another story. Just a disclaimer that I'm not just blindly believing everything and I'm aware that people lie. I don't know why I felt like adding this.



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