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?
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