There is a homeless man who always seems to be perched on his bike somewhere along the main road running through our town. We see him every time we leave the house. He is either bundled up, hunched over his bags and blankets in the winter, or riding up and down the street in the summer when I suspect trying to catch a little breeze in the heat.
Whenever I see him I want to bring him a coffee, or a water, or a blanket, or a fan - but I never do.
His name is Bruce. I only know this because my brother-in-law saw him one freezing day on his way to our house. He asked his name and why he was sleeping in the field. Then he gave Bruce the coat off his back and the hat from his head!
Today I had a notion to venture to the mall with the little ones. As we headed inside we saw the ever-present bell-ringers of the holiday season, collecting money for the Salvation Army.
I echoed Merry Christmas to the freezing volunteer but, with full hands, did not put a dime in his bucket. I told myself I would catch him on the way out but never did.
While driving home from the mall, frazzled from all the get-back-heres, don't-touch-thats and we-are-leaving-NOWs of our trip, I found myself stuck in the slowing traffic of our two lane road home. I was getting aggravated because it was nap-time for the little ones. They needed it and I needed it.
Then someone decided to cut in front of me. I muttered under my breath that cutting me off wasn't going to get him anywhere - and where exactly did he think he was going anyway?
I realized he was pulling his car off the road.
The man I was cursing under my breath for disrupting my five minute drive home got out and walked over to Bruce (whom I had not even seen in my world of crabbiness.) He handed Bruce some money.
I looked back, through blurry eyes, and was really ticked off. At myself!
Sometimes I think the bitterness I feel for the hand I have been dealt clouds my view of the fact that there are others who have been dealt a hand with a card or two less. I was reminded today that I need to slow down the carousel, help when I know I should, and give when I know I can.
If you need me I will be rehearsing the art of removing money from my purse with my foot, so I can drop some in that little red bucket next time I pass a bell-ringer when my hands are full.
That is, after I find Bruce and invite him over for dinner!