Have you ever walked by a person that was in the streets begging and thought to yourself “..should I give or shouldn’t I?” This happens more frequently than sometimes we accept. However, could this be a ‘warning sign’ of something telling you that you need to find out more? More about the person sitting there begging.
In life we tend to walk by opportunities that can really be a growing point in our own lives. This weekend while traveling, I pulled into a gas station and there was a man, walking across the parking lot. It was clearly noticeable that he had been a victim of stroke, as he walked with the typical signs of such and also with an assisted walking device. There was no one else in the station, no one inside. My first reaction was as most are, and instinct wanted me to help the man. As I walked towards him, I had told myself that I was going to help him, yet the words came different out of my mouth. I asked the man “How are you my friend?” in which he replied “Not good, not good at all. I had a stroke.” And normally I would have stopped and begin to engage to see how I could help get him some food or shelter. Yet this time I kept walking. As my son and I entered the store, with no one else there I noticed the clerk looking out the window at the man. As I got my items, I asked the lady if she knew that man. She said that ” he was a local homeless man that came in often.” I asked a little about him and she said “I have told him he can’t beg my customers.” Then she went on to say that “He and his friend sit up on the street corner each day begging for money, then come in here and buy beer and cigarettes. And when they pay they each have wads of money in their pockets.” Which made me think at that point yup that is why I kept walking.
I say this to lay out a vision of what most cant see. A vision that this man has a choice each day of how he wants to live his life. Just as you and I do. He chooses to deceive people for money in an effort to feed his addiction. What allows each of us to be any different than this man? Not in the appearance of being a begger, but in the reality of the choices that we make. Are we heeding the warning signs that allows us to notice when we need to ask for help. Or simply ask someone who KNOWS better than you how you can better yourself. In this story, I didn’t know anything about this man except for what I visually saw from the surface. Yet when I asked the woman who did know him and has engaged with this man on a daily basis she provided the KNOWledge I needed.
When you look past the surface of what society thinks and past the outer layer, and simply ask, you will find the answers. Remember, there is no problem unless there is a solution. And the solution is NOT always on the surface.