I recently heard a story on NPR about a homeless couple. The story was actually about the deteriorating health and life expectancy of the homeless. But, they focused on one couple in general. Tony and Andrea. The story begins with Tony getting really angry and yelling at a man in a car staring at them on a corner. Tony yells, “We’re homeless.” Which I’m sure anyone would be able to tell by just looking at them. But, the next thing he said really sent chills down my spine. Tony continued, “You’re one paycheck away,” he says. “That’s all they are. And they don’t understand. That’s all it was for us.”
Many times I find myself in the position of the guy in the car staring. Then sometimes, I find myself looking away, thinking, “if I don’t look, then they won’t bother me.” A few times I’ve scavenged around in my car for something worth giving without it seeming too measly (Beggars can’t be choosers, right?) But, I’ve never stopped to really, truly understand these are people. Real people. People in which life handled them lemons, but no pitcher. Yeah, yeah. You hear the stories about people that “make a living” off panhandling. But, if you really stop to think about it, someone willing to swallow their pride, stand on a corner and ask for help. I wouldn’t call that “living.” I don’t know about you. I’m starting to believe people ask for money, because more and more people would give that over their time. We fix the symptom, not the problem.
If you lost your job today, what would happen to you tomorrow? Maybe, 24 hours wouldn’t make or break you. For an average American, who is being truly honest with their self, that may break you. Most people have debt stacked over their heads, no savings, and have spent today’s paycheck before it even hit the bank. In a case such as Tony, he spent everything he had helping his mother until it finally ran out.
This is not a political statement! This is about compassion. I get that we cannot help everyone, but you can help someone. A little compassion on a man who has fallen down goes a long way. I’m a firm believer that giving changes YOU. Whether it be time, money, food, clothes, knowledge, etc. Give a little this weekend!