Homeless and Hungry

The other day, while on our way to a day at the beach, we drove through New Haven and at a traffic light, saw a man with a sign saying he was Homeless and Hungry.

July 23 - 31, 2009

“July 23 – 31, 2009” by osseous used under a Creative Commons Attribution license http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

I said “Oh, dear. This makes me so uncomfortable.”

and my son asked “Why?”

“I don’t know. Seeing him makes me feel sad and upset and helpless.”


“Because I feel that I should give him some money, but I feel frightened.”


I really didn’t have a good answer…  So instead I said “Get my wallet.” And as we passed by, I opened my window and handed the man some money. Which he gratefully accepted with a smile and a blessing.

Where does the fear come from? Why should seeing someone in desperate straits make me feel anything but sadness or compassion? Why would I feel afraid of offering him some of my abundance?

I don’t know the answers to any of these questions. But I do know that my son’s persistent questioning helped me move out of fear into compassion. Out of immobility into action, at least a small action. Afterward I felt so much better than I would have if I had rolled up my window, locked my car door, and pretended that the homeless and hungry man didn’t exist.


Homeless and Hungry — 1 Comment

  1. Pingback: Homeless and Hungry | Musings by Ask Joanne - Catholic Maven

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