NEW DAY NEW LESSON » Elderly, Emotions, Lesson of the Day » You Don’t Always Need To Know The Reasons

You Don’t Always Need To Know The Reasons

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I have a weakness.

 

Okay, I have many weaknesses and the list may or may not include chocolate and cake.

So about my weaknesses.

 

One of my most deeply ingrained weaknesses is the fact that I have a hard time passing over someone begging for money. I also have a soft spot for old people, especially those who look like life has been tough on them.

So you can only imagine what happens when you put an old hunched over person begging for money in front of me. Yes indeed. I turn into putty. Completely pliable putty.  And it doesn’t even matter if they do something so illogical that it really should make me think again.

 

Today I was rushing home from work and hurrying to the the train. As I rounded the corner there was an old, very short, hunched over man standing on his bent and crooked legs and holding onto his crutches with deformed hands. I heard him gently ask the woman in front of me for help.

 

She ignored him and went on her way.  As you can imagine, I was drawn to him like a magnet. I walked over to him and asked him what he needed help with.

 

I thought he needed physical help. His physical appearance was a bit deceiving. He was short and his body was so deformed, his limbs twisted looking and his torso curved. He was leaning against a wall and it looked like he was having trouble standing up and leaning forward onto his crutches.

 

Silly me. He didn’t need help standing up. He of course wanted money. So I took a whole bunch of change from my pocketbook. I gave him change in all different amounts. He said thank you but as he looked at what I had handed him, he stopped me and handed back the two coins worth the smallest amount. He didn’t want them.

 

I was thrown a bit. Money is money and yes those coins weren’t worth that much but add another few to the pile and it was worth something. (And the phrase beggars can’t be choosers did spring to mind.)

 

I smiled and took back the coins he handed me. And when in that pile I noticed a coin worth more, I even handed that one back to him and he took it. And I walked away.

 

I was hurting that someone has to live their life in a body that must be a challenge. I was sad that people, especially old people, are out on the streets begging. And I was trying to figure out why someone who needed money would give any amount back.

 

Maybe it’s just too hard for someone who can barely walk to carry around the weight of almost useless change. Or maybe I’m naive and gullible.

 

But it doesn’t really matter because I would do the same again. Because I have a weakness and frankly, I don’t want to be cured.

 

We don’t always need to know the reasons. Sometimes we just have to try and do what seems right.

 

What do you think?

 

*And a very Happy Anniversary to my hubby who has always humored my need to give every panhandler I pass money and even hands me the change from his pocket. I love you hun.

 

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I am me and also lots of other things like a wife, a mother, a daughter, a sister, a daughter in law, a sister in law, a friend, an oncology nurse, a blogger, a life coach in training, an avid book reader, a chauffeur, a chef, a shopper, a maid and on some days a bit overwhelmed. On this blog I share my journey of striving to see the best in everyone and everything. Strive, because I don't always manage to. Yup, I am human. I would love to have you join me in learning lessons in positivity from life.

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32 Responses to "You Don’t Always Need To Know The Reasons"

  1. Chedva says:

    Hi-

    Very Fascinating topic. I think being on the receiving end is a very different place and I often wonder why it’s difficult to
    Be good at both. The psychology of giving is more familiar to me and I struggle with that on many different levels.
    I can imagine the state of mind of a beggar isn’t one with any dignity at all. It was somewhere at some point stripped away. The fact that the old man was being a chooser wasn’t surprising at all. “beggars can’t be choosers” makes sense from a perspective of a giver not a receiver. I wonder if that she right thing to do. Why do beggars not have the right to select what they beg for? There’s a short article I read, written by the author of the best selling book, eat love pray, that struck a cord with me. It was all about the selfish need of giving.
    This year, as we approach Pesach, I will work on freeing myself of the need to give to others conditionally. When I give unconditionally,I have no expectations and therefor no disappointments.
    Thank you for sharing this very profound experience. I look forward to reading your posts!

    Chedva

    1. Susie says:

      Thanks for your really thought provoking comment Chedva.

      I definitely agree that giving is mostly for the giver. It makes us feel good about ourselves. Love the line about freeing yourself from the need to give others conditionally. I think if we could do that in all aspects of our lives (time, attention…) we would all be much happier.

      Have a happy and kosher Pesach.

  2. Mrs Skinner says:

    It is very difficult to walk by I think. Once upon a time the community would stop and help. Now we are very busy and don’t see. You keep giving into those weaknesses ( just stay away from cake!)

    1. Susie says:

      I think we all get somewhat desensitized by things over the years.

      Julia-I’ll stay away from cake if you will. :-) lol

  3. Naomi says:

    Susie wow – I think it is a great weakness to have and selflessness can be in varying forms. I choose to give money to people when I know what the money is for I am handing over or prefer to give food or a drink (not alcohol!)

    1. Susie says:

      Thanks Naomi.

      When I was in high school I used to go out and buy sandwiches for people begging on the street near my school. I still sometimes do that.

  4. I think you were right in doing what you did. The world causes us to be so pessimistic and skeptical about those who beg for money, so good for you for even giving in the first place. Only God knows why that man would have given the smaller coins back. Regardless of his motives, you served your own conscience and that’s all that matters.

    1. Susie says:

      Thanks Miranda.

      There are many people begging as a living who make a better living than i do-I think that’s why a lot of people have turned skeptical.

  5. Andi Brown says:

    If that is your weakness, I think the world will be better for it. Even when it gives back change.

    1. Susie says:

      You probably didn’t even realize it but your reply is really really profound. I had to read it over and over again.

      I pondered over the words gives back change and I think that things that happen to you are what effect change in the world and make you think.

      Thanks for that.

  6. That was such a a good, yet unexpected ending… and SO true. We really need to pick and choose our arguments, and not everything needs to be understood. Well said.

    1. Susie says:

      Thanks Kate. Sometimes we just have to step back from situations and try to view it from another perspective. Better to have been in my giving shoes than on the receiving end.

  7. Delilah says:

    I don’t consider that to be a weakness at all. That’s called compassion and empathy. There should be more people like you in the world!

    1. Susie says:

      Oh thanks so much Delilah.

  8. What an example of not being judgmental you are. You have given me an earth bound role model to emulate. Thank you. Ellen

    1. Susie says:

      Thanks so much Ellen.

      I do try to work at not being judgmental but I still have a long way to go in my day to day life.

  9. Mayor Gia says:

    Ugh, a tough situation. Beggers make me have heart pangs. Sad to see suffering, nomatter how it was caused.

    1. Susie says:

      I know. I hate to see suffering. I try to find the good that sometimes happens as a result of it-the amazing changes people make with their lives, the resilience they show and so on, yet still suffering sucks.

  10. I don’t think giving to and helping others should be called a weakness. It’s a strength for sure. My husband’s weakness is people begging who have dogs. :)

    1. Susie says:

      Thanks Michelle. I am not sure I have ever seen a beggar with a dog. I wonder why that is.

  11. jamie says:

    You have a beautiful heart, Susie. God bless you and you family.

    1. Susie says:

      Thanks Jamie. Amen.

  12. Missy Olive says:

    I understand that you have a weakness or soft spot. I do as well, which is why I am in the line of work that I am in. However, we also know that the money he receives each day is reinforcing his begging behavior.

    Each state has a department of vocational and rehabilitative services designed to help people such as him get and keep a job. Your tax dollars pay for those services and he would receive those services at no cost.

    Additionally, employment laws provide support and tax breaks to businesses who employ individuals such as him.

    Imagine how the quality of his life would improve if he worked on a regular basis where he could see and interact with people in a meaningful way rather than lie around and get sympathetic interactions only?

    1. Susie says:

      I live in Israel so things are might be a bit different as far as what is available.

      The thing is that the will has to come from the person needing to make the change. Each person is a world unto themselves and we don’t know what is in this person’s background that led them to the begging.

      I was taught that is someone asks for help it’s not my job to determine whether they are worthy of my help. I do believe that giving is mostly for the giver.

      Thanks for your comment.

  13. I live in a culture where people ignore beggars. Which is sad, but such is the way life has turned out where I live. Sigh.

    1. Susie says:

      Why do you think that is?

  14. Office Crush says:

    I give money to panhandlers, too, and then I feel guilty, and then I don’t, and then I feel guilty, and so on.

  15. Oh, you are so sweet! But now that’s bothering me too. Why would he give some back? hmmm.

  16. Susan says:

    i was once driving through austin and saw a younger man with a sign saying “need money for beer and pot.” which i think might be the most creative plea i’ve ever seen. kudos to you for taking the time to share with those less fortunate!

  17. Alexis says:

    That is a sad story. Both because of his plight and your response. Although I have to admit I think I would have been taken aback by his giving you back the pennies. Come on dude!

  18. Kristin says:

    I used to be much more giving with panhandling. But after a few aggressively bad experiences, I make a decision from afar and keep my distance from those I think will be less than savory. I have also given filled up Elevation Burger cards to a panhandlers in my town. A few hamburger is worth more than the dollar I might have given up, right? And you can get a veggie burger with it too!

  19. I think giving back the coins he didn’t want is an assertion of dignity, even in his apparently dire situation. He has the ability to choose, to select, and the power to refuse. It’s not much power, but it’s something.

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