The other day when I was driving out of a parking lot, I saw a homeless woman with a dog, set up for her shift, sign in hand, as I drove past her, I had my obligatory dollar to hand her. Not sure if it was the dog that got to me or the guilt of not knowing how to really help, but I was ready as I drove by. When she reached for the money, for a split second our eyes met and we connected in a way that words can’t explain. It was as if I realized in that fragile moment how blessed I was to be the one giving rather than the receiving. Because, even though my husband is out of work and working on a new business opportunity, it is not quite “there” yet, and we are praying as we get to that point of living on faith…we still have a roof over our heads and are blessed.
As I handed that dollar bill out the window as I drove past her in my newer than not car, I felt an invisible line seem to fade, a veil lift and wondered about her story. I prayed a silent prayer and hoped that she had water for the dog. It was so hot and I wished I had some water to give her.
Sure, I know, the skeptics may say she is better off than me. Giving money like that doesn’t help. But I selfishly couldn’t just drive by and she seemed to be doing pretty well because the car in front of me and behind seemed to hand her something as well. The skeptics may be right or they may just be telling themselves that to ease their own consciences. The fact is that we all aren’t too far away from being in her shoes, jobless, homeless, and overwhelmed. I know it is hard not to judge but we need to take our disdain and do something productive with it.
This morning, I saw that same woman near the off ramp of the freeway. I noticed right away because there was a squad car there with his lights on. It happened to be at a stop light, so I got more time to survey the scene and I watched the officer, a young, good looking, guy, smiling and animatedly talking to this woman with what seemed like respect and grace. They seemed to be in the midst of a friendly conversation. I am sure he was instructing her to move for safety purposes but witnessing the interaction gave me hope for her. I said a little prayer as I drove by for both of them, praying that perhaps he could help guide her to some resources and it made me think…
Sometimes we find ourselves in predicaments that feel out of control and try to take matters into our own hands. We forget to go to God for the answers or we do and don’t wait for HIM. Instead we stand at the off ramp of our life and beg. And sometimes God has to guide us in another direction because HIS way is a much better way for us in the end.