Posted by: chibotaichi | December 21, 2014

An Exchange

Today I gave $1.25 to an apparently in-need woman. On this Winter Solstice, rain and snow had been mingling all morning, dreary and cold and bleak and a bit soggy to top it all off.

Standing on the corner of the street at Snelling Avenue, a figure with the tell-tale cardboard sign is soaking up the heavy grey of this weather. Somehow I very quickly had the feeling to go ahead and give up a dollar. I’m about to spend 14 dollars on a single meal, why can’t I afford to spare one more buck?! So I pulled out a single one dollar bill and held it, slightly folded, in my hand.

And then a strange moment of hesitation happened. I was five or six cars away from the corner, but somehow didn’t feel like going through the fanfare of waving this lady down. I continued to just sit and then she slowly began to meander along the line of cars. Maybe she could sense that I was willing to help out or always makes this stroll down the line, but she wasn’t exactly hustling. I still didn’t roll the window down, even though the money was right there in my hand. I started to figure that if she didn’t get to me before the light turns green it wouldn’t be such a big deal to not give her the dollar. What a ridiculous thought! It was just the most obscene laziness you could imagine.

Fortunately, she got within a car length or so away as the light turned green and while the cars ahead slowly began to clear out, I handed her the dollar and a quarter too.

And you know what?

The look on her face was real familiar. Painfully and Beautifully familiar, the look of a person relieved.

This woman, regardless of how she might go spend that money, was genuinely grateful. There was nothing shady or schemey or criminal about this woman at all. Just somebody fallen on hard times.

We exchanged blessings and went along with our day. I like to believe that we both gained much from our path-crossing.


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