My thoughts yesterday must have hit a string in many of you. I am amazed and thankfull by the responce, by all the love and wisdom you share in your comments and also in e-mails sent directly to my mailbox.
Searching for a photo to go with this theme I came up with these straws growing through the snow, and bent by the strong and icy cold winds of life.
Mouse, Mary and tut-tut started the commenting, pointing out that as human beings we are all equal. In a privat e-mail a friend asked a question I had forgot to ask, and for her this is ths most important question of all; "What would Jesus do?". I am a christian, and one of the most important theses for me is that we are all part of God's creation, and as that we are all equal. Do I have any right at all to pass by the beggars pretending not to see them? Another friend pointed out in an e-mail to me the words of Jesus; "the homeless will always be with you", and by this he of course also tell us that it is our responsibility to help.
Darla wrote a long comment where she shows the complexity, we don't want people to go hungry as long as we have more than enough, at the same time there are signs showing that some of these people might not be as needy as they pretend to. Oh my, this is really not easy.
Ardi, and also others of you, are writing about giving these people dignity, and from all the comments this is what is teaching me the most important lesson I think. I am not sure if I will start giving out money, but I will start meeting the eyes of the people I pass, may be even give them a smile, and "give" them a prayer. This will be my way of showing dignity.
CathyC, I can well understand your frigth, blueVicar, I share your feeling of not to know what to do, Caroline, like you I will from now on try to give them the honor of looking into theyr eyes.
Lindsey, like you I have also learned alot from my travelling. I have been to Eritrea twice, and I remember one time in the capital Asmara alot of young boys were running around trying to sell small packets of paper handkerchiefs. They called them "softs", and we heard the cry SOFT, SOFT everywhere. Asmara has too many beggars and it was impossible to give to all of them, but every time I met one of these boys I bought a small packet of softs. I filled up my suitcase with softs during that travel. Some years ago I spent a week in Haiti. The helpworker who was our host during that week told us to always give to "beggars" who offered to do you a job, opening the car door, carry your luggage, polishing your shoes, but never to those just sitting there. Nel, the hardest times to refuse is when children beg. It really make me feel bad to pass them without giving anything. What I am learning now, after posting yesterday's blog is that "me feeling bad" is not the point, I have enough money for food and my other needs, what about the "feeling bad" of the beggars who lack all these daily needs? Terri and Maggie, thanks for your throughts as well
Wendy, your thoughts about "need" as a sacred think really gave me something to think about and to reflect upon. I have a favorite story about St. Francis from Assissi which I heard told in quite a new way at Lindisfarne in October. I will blog about that tomorrow. These thoughts are not going to leave me too fast.