Today, Merry and I were trying to kill time while waiting for Kelsey to get out of school. We went into a Dollar General store (which I NEVER go into) and witnessed something very sad.
I noticed a pretty rough looking man in line ahead of me, and was keeping Merry close and hanging onto my purse. You know, you never know when a strange person might try to snag your kid or your purse. I was being paranoid.
I was watching Merry out of the corner of my eye, and watching the man at the same time. I noticed that he purchased two cans of stew, and that was it.
After we checked out, I gathered our stuff and Merry and we went out into the cold, rainy day.
I saw the man, standing behind the stack of carts. He used something to open the one of the cans of stew and started eating it immediately!
I realized he was homeless, and it broke my heart. This guy was only in his mid-forties or so, and so hungry that he pried open a can and wolfed it down in the time it took me to walk to my car and buckle Merry in.
I watched as he took off his trench coat, slung the bag with his remaining can of stew over his arm, and replaced his coat. How awful it must be to have to protect your FOOD like that!
I had already told Merry that I would get her a milkshake from McDonald's, so we drove over there. I purchased the milkshake and a ten dollar gift card. I prayed, "God, if its safe, let me find that man so I can give him this gift card." Trust me, I ONLY do things like this if I feel it is a safe situation!
Merry and I drove around the strip mall, and I finally spotted the man sitting under the awning of a store. There was a young girl sitting a few feet away from him, having a smoke, so I took that as a "yes" from God.
I stopped my car and got out.
I said, "Excuse me, sir, this is for you." He looked at me incredulously.
"What's that for?" he asked me.
"I wanted you to be able to buy yourself a meal or two." I handed him the card.
"Why did you do that?" he asked.
"Because I could, " I replied. "God bless you."
As I walked away, he called out, "Thank you, ma'am."
My heart hurt for that man, but I know that that was all I could do for him.
Merry asked me about the card I gave him and I told her that sometimes people don't have everything they need, and we should help them if we can.
I told her we would pray for that man, and she was happy to do so.
I hope that I can teach my children to display the true Christmas spirit of giving.
This Christmas, if the opportunity arises for you to help someone less fortunate, do so, if at all possible.
That is the true spirit of Christmas. That is what Jesus would do.