It happened several weeks ago but has happened before many times and chances are will happen again. A stranger, someone we don’t know and not sure we want to, approaches us and asks us for assistance. This last time it was at a gas station when a long, matted hair, holes in his shirt and pants man, with a gas can in his hand asked me to buy him some gas. I always feel vulnerable and suspicious when anything similar to this happens and try to take a look around without being obvious. I was almost finished filling my tank and told him to set his canister down and proceeded to give him enough to almost fill it. When I finished he said; “Thank you,” took the container and went back to where he and another person were sitting. I opened the front door, sat in the driver’s seat and told the story to Beth who had watched from inside our car.
It’s been a rule of mine for as long as I can remember to not ask or demand from someone what they will do with money, gas or whatever when I give it to them. I understand some people take advantage of others and use people’s generosity for nefarious purposes. I know others need genuine help. I also believe in serving angels unaware and there’s no doubt I can’t tell the difference between the three. When I give it is a letting go of the abundance I sometimes have and allow others to use it as they deem necessary.
Assisting another in need is often vague. However, giving to another isn’t about how they use the gift but having a heart that’s willing to help.
New Plan –
After my incarcerated fathers class this afternoon I met with a resident for a time of mentoring. He was excited because he had received a letter from his estranged daughter and his time for release is coming quickly. We discussed his plans for getting out; what he was going to do, where he was going to go, short-term and long-term goals. After he laid out his plan I asked him what was plan B and plan C? I explained that one of the keys to not coming back was his ability to adjust to the unexpected. “Hopefully,’ I said, ‘everything goes well but in case it doesn’t, how will you reflect, react and remain on the right path?'” He told me he would work on plan C and discuss it when we meet again in a couple of weeks.
Wisdom stresses the need to be flexible in our plans, pursuits and purposes. Life’s journey has a way of surprising us with its twists and turns and not being able to correct our course can leave us lost in an unpredictable world.