I need some serious input on a question that has often plagued me.
But first: Story time.
We went on an outing to Huanchaco, the fishing town near by. It was a glorious day of sunshine and enjoying a good read by the ocean. When we were done at the beach we walked to an ice cream stand, a tradition when we venture to Huanchaco. I love this ice cream stand because of its homemade ice cream and homemade cones. Anyways, I got majar blanco & chocolate and my husband got coconut. We licked round the ice cream blob, insuring it wouldn’t melt down the sides on to our fingers.
A beggar approached us. She held open a blue folder with a picture of a boy with cleft pallet. She was dragging her four-year-old son along with her; he had no cleft pallet. Who was the boy in the picture? She kept asking for help.
Chase, my husband, had the money. So I didn’t say anything and kept walking, thankful I didn’t have to make a decision. I was avoiding, beggars approach us a lot here and I never know what to do. Chase started to walk away when the lady grabbed his arm and asked if her son could have a “piece” of his ice cream cone. Before Chase finished saying “yes” she grabbed the ice cream cone out of his hand, gave it to her son, and walked away leaving him dumbfounded.
We saw her walk to an outside table at a restaurant and continue begging. She grabbed a man’s drink, which was full to the brim, and gulped it down to nothing in the matter of seconds. She continued to ask other tables and passerby’s. She seemed to have no shame present as she asked and took. She had no sadness in her eyes, just desire and greed. This look and feeling she gave confused me. It made me have no sympathy. It was like she expected to get what she wanted but did not have the desire to earn it justly. And what was she teaching her four-year-old boy she was dragging around?
I caught myself in these thoughts. Who am I to judge? I don’t know what her life is like. I don’t know how she was raised or what her circumstances are. I know my God is the only being who has the right to judge her. My job is to help and aid. To love, that is my job, my obligation.
So now comes the tricky part. Define help. Is helping reinforcing her actions of begging by giving her what she wants? Do you give a beggar money? Do you give them food? How do you help? I see this is very situational. Have you had a situation like this?
I went into this situation not knowing what to do because I often question myself on the subject, ponder, leave it open, and have no answer. If I had an answer maybe I could have been of more help. Is there a concrete answer?
My husband’s reaction after I asked him about it; “How could I eat my ice cream cone after that knowing what I was going home to?” My husband has a heart. I love him.
Be grateful for what you have. Give what you have, whether it is material things, the talents you have, or emotional support by listening or being kind. We all have something to give.