My children teach me a great deal about love. After we went to the screening of I Am last Friday my eleven year old was thinking about homeless people and how to help them. She struggled to find words for what she was feeling. I waited for her to find them. She said, “Well if you just walk right by someone who needs help it’s like you’re ignoring your sister or your brother and refusing to help them or to give them what they need.”
Now, as an adult I struggle with this issue. For a couple years I worked with the homeless population in Savannah. I have an idea of some of the things that contribute to homelessness and I have an idea of how difficult it is for people. I’ve never had to live it, so I can’t begin to truly know how it feels. I also know about the guy we helped out with some cash one time on the street in Savannah who had a hard luck story about being out of gas and stuck. We met him again a week or so later with the same story. When we called him on it he got angry at us as if it were our fault he had used the same story on the same people. So how do I reconcile her need to help her brothers and her sisters with what I know?
In the face of her earnest desire to give and to give from love, the choice is simple. I will give from love without judgment, for what is given in love is a gift that may work in ways I can’t begin to imagine. What we decided to do was give in a way that felt right to us. We bought a gift card to a grocery store. The next time we pass someone who we can’t just pass by, we will offer the card with love. Then we will buy another one knowing that love moves in mysterious ways.
What a blessing to have daughters who teach me so truly about love!