To the woman on the corner…
I saw your sign. I saw that it said you were a mom, and looking for food or money.
And you looked sad. And desperate. And like you were fighting demons, the likes of which I’ve never known.
You could have been lying. You could have been playing a part. You didn’t look well.
But there aren’t many folks begging in my little city. And there are almost no women begging. And it was so cold. This is New England and it is the middle of winter.
I don’t know your story. I don’t know your demons. I don’t know if you reach a point where it is easy to stand on that corner. I can’t imagine it is easy. I can’t imagine at all.
I turned my car around. My car full of gas, full of groceries, full of 2 coats, and my husband and my little boy, and my pregnant belly. And I got you a little gift card. Or rather, I made my husband run in and get it.
Sure, you could use it for booze. Or cigarettes. Maybe you did.
And, you know, that’s okay. It was not given with strings. It was not given with expectations. It was given because you asked.
I’m not patting my back. I’m not going to write about how I got/learned/earned so much more than I gave. I’m not going to navel-gaze about my warm and relatively easy little life. I’m not going to wax poetic about charity or need. That is bigger and deeper than me and my sleep-deprived brain right now.
My husband asked me what to say as he handed off the gift card. I’m not a “bless you” type. And I didn’t want it to sound overwrought or over-thought. I wanted to wish you peace – of mind, of spirit, in your life, and in facing your demons.
I said, “Just tell her that we hope things get better.” So he did.
I hope things get better.