Is the time ever right?

I was at a restaurant the other evening, with my children and a friend. I was sitting at the booth waiting alone, and I seen a man, probably late 20’s, early 30’s asking people for change. He was jingling change in his hand. He didn’t look dirty and didn’t stink, he just looked really worn out, probably of life and circumstances.
He asked me for 50 cents in broken English (most people can’t tell I’m Latina from first glance) and I said I didn’t have any. He stood asking some more people and was told no over and over again. Some even made fun of him, right in his face. He then went over to one of the people working there and asked for food, stating that him and his wife were on the streets. They told him they couldn’t and began some drawn out explanation as to the reasoning. At that point, I gave my friend money and asked him to buy the man some food. His wife came inside and you can tell she was pregnant. As he took the food, he thanked my friend and myself profusely. The look in his eyes killed me inside. He kept coming up to me and thanked me (this time in Spanish) over and over again. I told my friend, “I know they’re on drugs, you can tell.” They both had scabs on their arms and again, you can see it in their eyes. Unfortunately, I’ve seen way too many people strung out to know immediately. For some reason, I started crying and had to excuse myself, go outside, smoke a cigarette and call my fam back home to calm down and get my mind right.
I watched him eat like he hadn’t ate in days. As we were leaving, we seen him nodding off with the food still in his hands. (A classic symptom of heroin use).
I spoke with my uncle and he told me I have a caring heart and that’s why it touched me so deeply. This has happened before, but for some reason this time I felt it deeper.
People struggling for survival, addicted to one thing or the other and living day to day the same way. Is it right to be addicted? No, but we never know peoples lives and how they came to be this way. True indeed, when we really want a change, we are the only ones that can truly start and if we don’t, regardless of how “tired” we say we are of something, we will continue on sinking deeper and deeper into our own personal hell. Not everyone in the hood or any other stereotypical environment turns into that “stereotype,” but living in that environment now, I can see how easy it is to go left. If everyone around you is the same way and you have no one to try and uplift you, how can you know that you can get out of that and be better? How do you conjure up hope when you know nothing more than what your environment shows you? Some people aren’t that strong and its easier to accept your fate then break the cycle and uplift yourSelf.
Through many of my “rock bottom” phases, thank the Highest, I’ve still had some loving people around me who truly wanted the best for me and didn’t completely give up on me. They pushed away, but didn’t completely wash their hands with me. I try and use this as my fuel with every breath I take. What makes me, or anyone for that matter, better than the “left fielders?” We aren’t, we just made different choices. I just choose not to let my situations define me. It can happen to anyone, at any time. Of course we can say ” I don’t need to help “those” people, they don’t do anything for me and I have my own problems and my own family to take care of”.
Imagine if you can for just one second if everyone in this world had that mentality. What then? What a disgusting existence, in my eyes!!! People ask me sometimes “Why do you do things like that? It never goes towards good.” My reply? “When I do something, it comes from a sincere, loving place so my soul is clean. If who receives it, receives it with bad intentions and malice, that’s for them to deal with. That’s out of my hands and not for me to concern myself with”. In my opinion also, why give to charity and get a tax deduction? The defeats the purpose of “charity.” You’re not SUPPOSED to expect anything in return, it should be anonymous.
Again, everyone sees things different, I just still think in this day and age, we should be trying to preserve humanity, not try and outdo one another and hate. I won’t see a change in my physical lifetime, but I know in my heart I can live and breathe change and see the good in humanity rather than the exterior ugly. You never know a mans story. You may learn a thing or two.
When do we give up?

One response to “Is the time ever right?

  1. If it makes you feel better, gestures like yours (especially those involving distributing food) DO often go towards good. Working with men and women who are homeless has made me realize that we can never know what starts a turning point for someone. We definitely have people who come to our shelter/medical facility multiple times and we have rules about how often they can return after leaving AMA. Still, we don’t wash our hands of a person who makes a mistake. Sometimes it just takes a few extra chances. And those who make it out of the terrible cycle of homelessness are forever grateful for that second or third or fourth chance. We don’t have to agree with their past to help them in the present.

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