Wednesday, July 23, 2008

It was a beautiful evening, Millie needed some exercise and the boys had a surplus of energy to burn. We headed down to a local park and were enjoying the sunset when a man who referred to himself the "Dog Whisperer" offered Millie a treat, chatted for a minute and walked away.

While the kids and Trey kicked the soccer ball around, Millie and I headed around the path and there on a bench the mystery man appeared again. Millie knew he had the goods and practically accosted him. I asked if he had a dog and he told me he had just put down his two black Labs. He went on to tell me that he couldn't have a dog right now because he was homeless. He pointed to his car in the parking lot and said that was where he was sleeping until he began receiving Social Security next month. He gave me a bit of his life history (Alaska fisherman, back injury, disabled, etc.) and as I continued asking questions, simply out of curiosity, I discovered he had not eaten in two days.

As Millie and I walked away I kept thinking of Jesus' words: "When I was hungry, you gave me to eat, when I was thirsty you gave me to drink...." I was so burdened for this stranger but also wondered if he was selling me a bill of goods. I can't count the number of times I've bypassed a panhandler at the intersection writing him off as another drunk and refusing to put a penny in his dirty hands. Why did this circumstance feel so markedly different?

I went to my car, grabbed some cash and returned to his bench. I placed the money in his hand, told him to get some food and wished him well. He asked if I was from around here and said what I did was "such a Bellingham thing to do and that is why he loved this place and returned here to start a new life." I told him I was just following my heart and maybe I'd see him around again. His response: "You definitely will."

Whether he is full of it or for real, that is between him and God. Whether he uses it for drugs, alcohol or a hot meal I will never know. Or will I?


2 Responses to “Brian”

donald said...

Hi Dana,

Thanks for sharing your experience with Brian, I have to admit, I have often struggled with pan handlers stemming back as far as our days in New York. I often excused my indifference to them much the same way in which you struggled with Brian. What if this is a scam, what if they are going to use it for drugs or alcohol, etc… What I have come to realize is this, we are all children of God, and when one of his is in need it is our responsibility to give in faith, whatever becomes of our git of generosity is beyond my control and like you said between the individual and God. One thing is for certain it is not so much what they do with the money as what we did when presented with the opportunity to do Gods work. I have to admit I don't give to everyone I pass in need, if I feel a tug on my heart I know that I have to acknowledge it. I search what I am feeling and decide what it is I am to give is it money, is it food, or is it acknowledging their existence by letting them know that I see them, I hear them, and that we are one and the same in God's eyes.

Love, Don

donald said...

Sorry about the typos (git=gift, my control = our control)I was trying to edit my response when I hit the wrong key. Anyways…