Cheddar Cheese Cubes And More Invisible Walls

9 05 2011

Last Tuesday morning I found myself searching for a good deed.  As I prepared for two Faces of Israel gigs, I began to brainstorm on the best way to connect with another human being and do a kindness.

Fast-forward eight hours.  I am stuck in traffic on the Major Deegan Expressway and begin munching on the cheddar cheese cubes that a friend kindly packed for me since I had worked through lunchtime.  There is a man standing on the side of the highway with a sign that reads “Homeless – Please Help”.  Immediately the internal battle begins.

Should I give him money?  How much?  Oh, but I just woke up so early to earn this money.  What will he use it for anyway?  Why isn’t he out looking for a job?  In just a moment, my car will pass him and I will be on the George Washington Bridge where I won’t have to think about these questions or make a decision.

I remember that my wallet and backpack are in the car trunk, making the mental conversation entirely moot.  The absurdity of my situation then hits me.  I was determined to seek out an opportunity to do kindness that day.  An opportunity was now presenting itself right in front of me, but I was too blind to recognize it.  I think back to Slab City’s Karma Kitchen and to Ignacia and Tomas of Mecca California, and quickly roll down my window.

I don’t have my wallet handy, but these cheese cubes are delicious.  Can I give you some?

Yeah.  Sure.

Moments later, I have emptied half of my snack bag into the man’s cupped palms.  I drive away.  To have almost missed that chance to share and give and connect (even in a small and cautious way) because of awkwardness, ambivalence, apathy… how silly I can be sometimes.  How silly we all can be, and how slow we are to train our minds and bodies to put our values into practice.

As an aside, a friend shared a sweet video with me.  I hope you enjoy it.

posted by ayo

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