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Wednesday September 10, 2003

Oh, stupid dilemma

Today I left work around 5:30 after spending the whole day training students, running the experiment solo and doing random crap. I had last eaten at 8:30 in the morning, and I couldn't wait to leave work. I sped all the way home --my usual 40 minute drive was cut down to a half hour flat. When I hopped off the freeway and rounded a turn down my street, I saw a man sitting on the curb about 50 feet way from me holding a sign that said Please Help, Anything You Can. He looked a little scary, to be honest... His wooly black hair looked like it had straw sticking out of it, and he was dressed in a dirty plaid shirt that probably smelled like my rat's poop corner. I drove on by, concerned only with my headache and growling stomach.

When I pulled into my driveway, I started to ask whether I should back out and go find this man, this dirty street panhandler. I may have been feeling crappy when I got home today, but I had a house to walk into, and a bed to sleep in. This man probably had little more than his dirty shirt and cardboard sign. Was I wrong to pass him by? What should I have done?

I've heard countless times before that giving money to a bum is more wasteful than hitting a slot machine --it usually ends up feeding little more than an addiction. For all I know the liquor store could very well be the reason this guy was sitting on the curb tonight. But... I don't know that. What is worse? Unknowingly enabling a drunk or drug addict, or failing to help someone who is genuinely in need? What is it like to have nothing? To have no place to shower or change your clothes? To have no clothes to change? To be addicted to something that has ruined your life? To have people pass you by as you hold a cardboard sign on a street corner? To be the guy I drove by today?

What do I do if I see him tomorrow?


A sandwich and the gospel might help. My humble thoughts only, Drina.

ganns on September 10, 2003 10:30 PM

i'd talk to him and give him something to eat. no, i wouldn't give him money. my thing is, i try to make sure that my motive for doing what i do is the right one. if i just want to ease my guilty mind, i can give him money... but if i want to help him, i need to talk to him. you know what i mean?

coqui on September 10, 2003 11:12 PM

Sometimes money is not the best option, But sometimes it is the only one. If you feel led of God do it and trust Him with it.

Michael Morgan on September 12, 2003 04:26 PM

Aren't they one and the same - sandwich-gospel, gospel-sandwich?

Steve S on September 22, 2003 01:32 PM