Friday, April 22, 2011

It IS a good Friday!

Moving to San Diego has brought me into closer contact with homeless people than I've ever been before. On our way to the gym every day there is a homeless man who's sign says "So broke it hurts. Help a homeless family with kids." He's polite, friendly, named Ron and loves Claire. He waves at her every day and she (in true Claire fashion) eats her shoes in response. He tells me about his girls and when they were little (they didn't wave either).  When he sees us coming he presses the button for the cross walk.

Last week while at the dollar store I thought about his kids and picked up some art supplies for them (we love art supplies from the dollar store and were excited to share the love). The art supplies got me thinking about Easter.  I grew up in a house where every holiday was a big deal and my parents sometimes still send me a box full of Easter grass, trinkets and candy for the big day. So I decided to make a big deal out of Easter for the homeless family.  The only thing I could think of sure to brighten up the Easter of a couple of tweens was nail polish in unnatural shades, trinkets and lots of candy. We packed up all of those things (along with some other manicure essentials and an awesome article about the meaning of Easter) and took them to Ron (we packed them in Easter Chinese-takeout containers so that he could transport them easily).

What's been odd has been other people's reaction to the idea of giving Ron....well...anything. I was at the pool with some ladies (when I was still in the planning phase of the project) and asked for suggestions of what I could put in the Easter baskets of tweens.  Instead of providing suggestions the conversation turned to how the girls were sure that Ron walked around the corner after a hard days begging, jumped into his Mercedes and drove home to his huge house.  The hubbs mentioned it to his boss who looked at him and said, "that guys not homeless."

I appreciate that Ron  might not be homeless, that he could be taking advantage of the generous spirits of others.  I guess it just doesn't matter to me. If he is, he now has a couple of bottles of nail polish, a manicure kit and several packages of candy and I'm out a couple of dollars.  If he does have 3 pre-teen girls then hopefully their day will be a little brighter.

In the fourth century St. Basil said this, "The bread in your cupboard belongs to the hungry person; the coat hanging unused in your closet belongs to the person who needs it; the shoes rotting in your closet belong to the person with no shoes; the money which you put in the bank belongs to the poor. You do wrong to everyone you could help, but fail to help."

I guess I'm more worried about the wrong that I'm doing to those I fail to help than the wrong of being duped by Ron.  And getting a hug from the homeless man who pushes the cross walk button every morning for us was a pretty nice reward too.


  1. Sallee-you are amazing. Seriously. Weather your being duped or not I think you did a great thing-and I think it's the thought that counts not the outcomes. Claire is so lucky to have a a role model like you. Can't wait to see you guys for the wedding. Only 19 days!


  2. Ha ha - I like the post about Ron. Good for you! It always feels good to do something nice for someone, whether they're really "homeless" or not. So, true. Love your perspective on it.

    PS: If I would have been at the pool I probably would have told you some sort of story about how he's able to pay the $300 tickets he gets several times a week, and its still worth it for him :)
    So, I again, I like your thoughts on it... they changed my perspective. And, who doesn't like a guy to press the cross walk for them!

  3. I tend to be a cynic myself. I've got my own Colorado mission story about a couple with walkers and oxygen that seemed remarkably spry when it was time to pack everything into their car and head home at the end of their begging day.

    However, when I get to cynical I think of King Benjamin's counsel to give generously and let the Lord work it out.

  4. I love you and your generous tender heart. Thank you for your always amazing example.

  5. I experienced a lot more of the homeless and begging while in Portland. Something I love about my husband is he literally gets mad and disappointed in himself when he doesnt have cash or didnt manage to give his change to the guy at the intersection before the lights changed. It is one of the things that made me fall in love with him.

    And it is not our job to decide how our charity is used. What matters is that we genuinely want to help someone and give something, and hopefully it made a difference. And why should a couple of girls possibly not receive kindness because there is a possibility that this man isnt poor?

    There are a lot of people on the streets of Portland who live that way by choice. Even then, I do not know what lead them to that decision, nor do I think that me thinking its their fault or them being irresponsible should mean that they shouldnt get to eat. Because choice or not, I have a warm place to sleep and a husband who loves me and know, with all my complaints, that my life has got to be easier. Happier.

    It makes me sad that people are so skeptical.

  6. i just love you. and this totally reminds me of how my husband is.. he is the first to give money, food, and would even give the shirt off his back for someone in need.. and shamefully i'm a bit more skeptical of the reasoning behind why they are "begging" at times.. but he always reminds me by saying "it doesn't matter if they are being honest or not, or if they really are in need, I'M ALWAYS in need of the blessings and character that come from giving" ... so true. thanks for sharing and inspiring.

  7. You are so wonderful, Sallee. I want to be like you when I grow up.

  8. I'm thrilled you did this. It makes me proud of you and of Christ's principles.