This is something I struggle with. I know my life needs to have a purpose beyond me and what I want. But, I am so selfish by nature. It really is all about me most of the time. So, I don't think about it all that often. But, occasionally, something tugs at my heart with conviction that I need to work on this.
About a year and a half ago I was going in the local Peet's to buy some coffee beans. I'd just done some grocery shopping at Trader Joe's. A homeless man approached me - not your typical 'spare-some-change', dirty, smelly, crazy, panhandler. But, just a seemingly nice, coherent, clean, down-on-his-luck guy. He asked if I had anything he could eat. He was waiting for a bus to take him somewhere there was work, but he hadn't eaten in a couple days. I was in a rush (I'm sure a self-imposed kind of rush). So, I pulled some pita chips and hummus out of the Trader Joe's bag and gave them to him. He was really grateful. As soon as I got home, I was kicking myself. We were just across the street from Trader Joe's. He had a backpack. Why couldn't I have taken an hour out of my day and taken him shopping for enough provisions to last a few days? Why didn't I take him to the BBQ restaurant next to Peet's and buy him a sandwich? Why? Because I am so friggin' self centered and so myopically focused on my own schedule. That's why.
I vowed that day that the next time an opportunity presented itself to help someone in need that I was going to do a better job of stepping up. So, yesterday an opportunity presented itself. And, I didn't completely weasel out this time. I pushed myself a little further out of my comfort zone. I let myself be inconvenienced...a little.
But, again, I'm left with the feeling I could have done more. I could have dug a little deeper.
So, I get to think about what I would do better next time. Hopefully, there will be a next time. And, I get to think about how I might be a little more intentional about reaching out to people in need, rather than just waiting for opportunities to present themselves once every year or so. And, I hope for the wisdom to be able to be generous with utter abandon while avoiding putting myself in danger or becoming an enabler. Selflessness with boundaries. Or, is losing the boundaries a part of becoming selfless? I don't know. All things to ponder.
And, strangely, I find myself full of worry and hope for two people I don't even know, whose lives intersected with mine for a brief moment. I hope and pray they will find their way.