I recently told Chris that now that we aren't in danger of going bankrupt every week (thank you, Inrix) I wanted to begin to help others a bit more. I have a strict policy of never giving homeless or beggars money, because we work hard for our income and I don't want to give it away when I don't KNOW it's helping. So I decided that sometime when we're on our way out to eat and see a homeless person, I will invite them to dine with us. It's a good Christian plan, and I felt proud of my resolve.
Today I got my first chance to put my money where my mouth was.
We stopped into McDonalds after a grueling morning of house hunting for a quick snack. In front of us in line was a man old enough to be my grandpa. He was wearing a thick down coat despite the beautiful day. The coat was held together by electrical tape and duct tape. His clothes were falling off of him. This blue eyes and thin hands reminded me of my grandpa, who I have been missing so terribly.
I watched this man order just one cheeseburger off the dollar menu, and pay with a weathered dollar bill and ten pennies. It broke my heart.
Since he was ahead of us in line I didn't get the chance to pay FOR his food, but I did want to help. I asked Chris if it'd be OK for me to buy him a gift card, for his next meal. Of course Chris said yes. So I got my family settled and went back through the line to buy the gift card. I kept nervously glancing at the man, worried he'd leave before I made my way through the terribly slow line.
Luckily he ate his cheeseburger with a spoon, and very slowly at that.
I approached his table with a smile on my lips and filling my heart. I was finally able to help my fellow man. I was being a good Christian.
I said, "Hello there. I don't mean to intrude, but I was hoping you'd let my husband and I buy your next cheeseburger." I smiled, set the card on the table and lingered just a moment. He smiled at me but said nothing. I walked away.
It was just a moment in time. But it made me feel so good.
Back at my own table, my girls needed a napkin for ketchup overdose. I ran from the play place back to the drink station inside to get some napkins. Along the way I noticed my wonderfully generous gift had been flung.. in my direction.
I stopped, picked up the gift card and put it in my wallet. Spirit busted.
I'm not sure if the penny pincher in me should feel glad that I'm out no money for my good deed... or offended... or sheepish that I offended him.
Whatever I should or shouldn't feel, there is one thing I know for certain. I am becoming the person God wants me to be. A this sort of thing, no matter how it wound up, would have made my grandparents very proud. And that's enough for me.