I was sitting at 5 guys yesterday with my back to the door; something I only do if my husband is with me, after all, I was raised by a Marine, when a women came up behind me and asked me for $2. Having a stranger touch my arm and speak to me from behind my shoulder startled me for a moment and my answer was a quick “No”.
As she walked by me, I could see that she was obviously suffering from mental illness and drug addiction. Information came running through my mind like a computer download, giving me a quick overview of the woman’s predicament. As I ate my burger I watched as she went around the room asking a few customers the same question and they all gave her the same answer. She approached the counter and was greeted by the kindness of the cashier who gave her a cup and told her she could have water from the soda machine and that the peanuts were free. This all happened within a few moments and then my father’s Spirit was suddenly speaking to me in my head.
“You got plenty of money in your pocket kid!”
My first response was “I don’t give money to people for them to use on their drug habit”. This was not a judgment of the struggle those dealing with addiction have, but more a feeling of not wanting to contribute to the destruction of a person’s mind/body/soul by financially contributing to the substance. My father continued by simply sharing stories in my head like watching movies on fast forward.
My dad was the kind of guy who dropped groceries off at friends houses when he knew they needed help but also knew that if they were given money they would likely spend it on drugs or alcohol. He was also the guy who regularly bought sandwiches for the homeless when he lived and worked in Sacremento. He would always talk about the importance of seeing people as being human even when they could no longer see the humanity in themselves. He struggled with alcoholism for the majority of his life and knew that under the addiction was deep pain and soul wounding. He never forgot that under the broken shell was a human spirit.
When we were kids it was common for my father to pick up a drunk bum named Maynard whenever we saw him looking for a ride. Maynard was always treated with respect, it did not matter that he smelled bad and slurred his words so bad you couldn’t really understand what he was saying. Every time we dropped him off we heard the same story about how Maynard had saved my father’s life when he was a boy. The two of them had been friends, and Maynard saved my dad when he almost drowned in the bog. My father never forgot that Maynard was a hero, and he approached all people who were down on their luck with the same level of respect.
I continued to watch the woman hungrily stuffing peanuts into her face at the side counter, and found my food tasted horrible, “How could I sit and enjoy a meal I didn’t really need, while I watched another who was obviously starving?” I waited until the line wore down and went to the counter and ordered another meal…then walked over to the woman and handed her the slip. “This is your receipt, when the number is called you can go pick up your meal at the counter.”
She almost started crying on the spot and being a ‘wet responder’ (someone who cries at every emotion) myself, I was just about there with her. She reached out to hug me, something I know many wouldn’t accept from a stranger, especially someone who looked as hard worn as she did. I accepted her hug and returned it with genuine care, and in that hug, I felt her true starvation…” when was the last time someone saw this person as a human being?” I thought.
She went on to tell me a story that I knew was a lie, one of how she had cancer and was starting her job tomorrow. I didn’t have to be Psychic to know these things were not true. I simply looked her in the eye and said “You need to take care of yourself”, and walked back to my table to eat the rest of my meal with my husband.
I found it hard to eat, even though I no longer felt guilty about doing so, but because of my father was back this time to tell me how proud he was of me. He flashed stories through my mind, as I tried to finish my meal, and the woman who I had given the meal to kept waving to me and blowing me kisses whenever she caught my eye. I finished my meal, waited to make sure she didn’t have a hard time getting hers and left the restaurant.
I walked away seeing how powerful the little things are, how a burger and fries and a hug have a value far greater than money. No one should go hungry, regardless of the situation that got them there, and all people should be seen as human. I’m not going to lie and say I help every homeless person I see, or say that I donate hours of my time helping the mentally ill and addicted. In fact, cities are difficult for me, and I often find myself having to divert my gaze from the downtrodden, as my Psychic mind can pull me to deeply into their struggles. But I believe my fathers approach of handing a fellow human a sandwich is something I can do.
I hope you enjoyed the read, and that you find yourself compassionate when the universe (or my dad) asks you to step up and give a man/woman a sandwich. We find our humanity when we share kindness and compassion with others.