Give Without Expecting
Occasionally when I’m at the gas station in my neighborhood a person will ask me for money. Before I go on, let me give you a little history about my record of giving to those who are in need. When I was in my early twenties and living in New York, I decided that one day each week I would give money to one vagrant. For some reason I have a heart for those who live on the street. And at the age of forty, I still do. I believe that giving plays a huge role in life.
One day as I was getting out of my car to pump gas, a young guy was outside rudely asking for a dollar. He asked everyone who passed (in a demanding urgent tone) as if he expected someone to oblige him. Admittedly, every now and then I do get annoyed when people (especially young folk) ask me for money. I think about how hard I work for what I have and often wonder why they aren’t working. The fact is, a lot of these people have mental issues/drug problems. They’d never last with a real job.
What I’ve learned to do is try not to figure out why they want the money or what they are going to use it for. This particular guy said he wanted something to drink. When he first asked me for the dollar, I shook my head no. He then asked me if I had some change. I guess no was not an option for him.
Anyway, I could feel how irritated I was with this boy and I don’t like that feeling. I questioned myself to find out if I was bothered because of the way he was asking, or if it was because I didn’t want to be generous. In all honesty, I wasn’t feeling generous. Without any more thought, I reached into my purse and found four quarters at the bottom of it. I collected them, opened my door and called him over. While handing him the change he asked me if it was a dollar. Good grief.
I saw him walk into the gas station and back out again with no drink in hand. He then made his way over to have a conversation with another pan handler I often see in the hood. As I drove away I began to release that irritated feeling because I didn’t want to attract any more situations to make me feel that way. I then expressed gratitude to the Universe for letting me have the money to give. This guy was insisting on getting a dollar and I didn’t want to offer it to him. But I had a buck in change that I didn’t even know was there. I’m grateful for that. It reminded me of how much I have, but occasionally forget because I always want more. I also had to remind myself that it doesn’t matter what he was using the money for. Once I give anything to anyone it’s there’s, and they are free to do whatever they want with it whether I like it or not. True giving does not come with conditions.