Thursday, March 17, 2011

Homeless And Hungry

I was driving around yesterday with my kids, running a few errands and trying to get caught up on a few things. We grabbed some McDonald's for lunch (termed: Old McDonald's in our home) and were eating as we drove from store to store.

I was stuffing my face with french fries and licking the oh-so-good salt from my fingers as I pulled up to a stoplight. I noticed an older man standing on the median with a sign that said "homeless and hungry". There were a few thoughts that immediately ran through my head: (1.) are my doors locked? Check. (2.) What is a homeless man doing in our town? (yes, I really thought that. Not to sound snobby but there aren't many homeless people walking around our small town so it was an unusual sight) (3.) Do I now stop eating my yummy fries, that I know he can see, or do I continue eating? (4.) Should I break my husband's rule and roll down my window to share?

I was conflicted. I wanted to help him. I felt sorry that he was standing there with a hungry tummy. I didn't know if I could trust him though. Was he really homeless? Or just looking for a free lunch? Do I dare attempt to give him something when I had my three kids in the car? My husband has said that he doesn't want me to do that. But if I'm honest with myself -- would I have done it if I had permission? Or if I was alone in the car? I'm afraid that the homeless stereotype does indeed have me fearful and skeptical.

And then the following conversation took place:

5 year-old Cody - "Mommy, who is that man?"

Me - Just a man. (thinking "that's not a very Christ-like answer you idiot".)

4 year-old Ava - "What is he holding?"

Me - "A sign."

Cody - "What's it say?"

Me - "It says he's hungry."

Ava - "Does he want our chicken nuggets?"

Cody- "He can have mine. I'm full." (After he only ate one!)

Me - Silence.

Stoplight turns green and we begin moving.

Ava - "Mommy, why didn't we share?"

Me - "Ummmmm..."

As if I wasn't already feeling bad enough, when I emptied my car after we got home, I had to throw away six chicken nuggets, a medium fry and a half full apple juice box.

Father, forgive me for ignoring that man's need. I know you love him and I should as well. Give me the courage and wisdom I need to handle situations like these because I want to be someone that pleases you by loving and caring for others.

Have you ever experienced a situation like this? What do you typically do or think when you come across a homeless person? Do you have any good "encounters" that you can share?


  1. I've had a ton of moments like this! Unlike yourself, I live in a city full of homeless people. I'm often conflicted as to what I should do but I've found that if I keep something (like granola bars) in the car for those moments and hand them out when it's safe (busy area, not late at night) it helps. Sounds like you have some wonderful kiddos.

  2. Hi Alisa,
    Great idea about keeping something on hand. I'll have to try that. :)



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