We went to Target today, basically because we’re getting a little stir crazy. Watching the snow melt can only be so exciting. As we were walking to our car after a big purchase of toddler cutlery, a man was walking towards us. I didn’t see him until he spoke to us; I was busy making sure Oakley kept his hat on and Ava was staying close in case a crazy driver came careening toward us and I had to pull her to safety… you know, just a typical day in the life of a mama.
“Do you have any spare change for something to eat?” I looked up and saw who was addressing me. Sorry to stereotype, but he looked like the ask for money type. He had a scruffy beard, dirty coat, old stocking cap and beat down look.
“No, I’m sorry I don’t.”
“Ok, thank you.”
Instantly I felt a barrage of emotion. One, a heightened awareness of who else was around. Two, a knot in my stomach… basically I guess because a stranger talked to me and I always get a knot in my stomach when strangers talk to me. Three, guilt. Because I really did have money and what I said was essentially a lie.
Now, our world today would probably not fault me. We had parked in a side parking lot at Target, not the front lot. There weren’t a lot of people around, but there were one or two. I was alone with small children. I would have had to dig in my zipped up purse in a zipped up wallet for a couple dollars, all of which common sense tells you opens up a huge can of opportunity for your purse to be swiped.
But my guilt came from somewhere. Jeff and I save money every month for random acts of kindness. When we see someone with a need, we want to be able to act on it and so there is a fund set aside. And the fund actually has money in it. It is not as easy as you would think to find people who need random blessings. Have you tried it? Unless you interact daily with the less fortunate or have a job that takes you to people and places where there is a lot of need, I would venture to guess opportunity is hidden from most people… unless you are actively looking for it, which I guess most days I forget to actively look. Or maybe it’s just me. Perhaps it’s in part because I stay home with my kids and my interactions with the outside world are limited. So unless I feel like I should pay for the persons groceries behind me, which I’ve never felt the nudging to do, it’s been hard for me to find opportunities. I have to admit my daily routine keeps me pretty squarely in middle America. And not that there’s not need in middle America. Anyway, I’m not trying to justify myself, or maybe I am. I don’t know. Alls I know is I want God to use me. So I’ve been praying about it and asking God to send a few my way.
Well, it seems He may have sent one my way today and I passed. Come on God! Why can’t this be a little easier?? Why an empty parking lot? Why someone who instantly raises every suspicion in me when it’s just me and my littles? Why do I have to war against my instinct to protect myself and my kids and the chance to help? Why couldn’t it have been a woman and not a man? Would that have made a difference? Why didn’t I have $10 in my pocket??!!
Blast it! I don’t have answers to any of those questions. I’ve lived through a year of ‘trust in God’ boot camp and I still fall back into fear. Will I be more brave if I get another chance? I don’t know. I don’t have a good ending to this post, just sharing the quandary. What would you have done?