Friday, May 13, 2016

That time I said "thank you" to the homeless man

I was pulling out of the Walmart parking lot. Again. This had to be, like the 3rd time today. There was a different man on the corner. There's always one there. Scraggly beard, unkempt hair, raggedy clothing and shoes, and a defeated look on his face. It's not always the same MAN, but these characteristics are always the same. And I always have the same reaction, I smile, sometimes wave, and move on with my life. I'll admit, although it is probably awful, I have sometimes thought, "If you need money so bad, get a job." But this day, this day was different. I pulled up just as the light turned from yellow to red and stopped right next to the man. I knew I was in for a long wait, so I peeked at him. And I really SAW him. A man. Just like my husband, just like my two boys would someday be. Just a man, in need. And for the first time in my life, I KNEW I needed to help this man, a complete stranger. I thought, "I can't! I don't have any cash." You see, I never carry cash. (Who does anymore?) And then I suddenly remembered the fistful of cash I had shoved into my coat pocket last week, after pulling it from the bank for something that no longer had any relevance. The coat that I was now wearing. I reached down and unzipped my pocket, pulling out the cash. Before I could even examine any of this, I rolled down my window, watched him scurry over to my car, handed him the money and heard him say,  "God Bless." I numbly responded, "Thank you," because this was all very weird for me. And then the light changed and I drove away. It was all over in a matter of 60 seconds. But as I drove away, I kept thinking, "Why did I say thank you? Of all the things I could have said, THAT was what came out? In that moment of service, why did I thank him?" And the answer came to me very clearly. I needed that opportunity to serve. Maybe he didn't need that money all that bad, or maybe he did. But I needed that moment. Maybe you believe differently, and that's ok, but I believe in the Holy Ghost, or Holy Spirit, and I believe that if we are worthy of his direction and influence, he will guide and direct our lives for good. He will prompt us toward those experiences that will help us to progress and become the people we are meant to be. I believe that this was one of those moments for me. I felt his influence and his guidance so perfectly during those 60 seconds and I am so glad that I didn't second guess those promptings, I did what I felt like I needed to do. And then I thanked the man, who made that experience possible. Service is honestly one of the greatest natural highs we can feel in this life. There is no beating the joy that we feel when we can provide for someone else that which they cannot provide for themselves-- It brings us closer to the Savior, because we are doing exactly what he would have done in that situation.