It is getting warmer. Finally. This girl needs sunshine to feel sane.
And I’ve noticed something since the weather has warmed besides the fact that it might be time to break out the lawnmower.
That I’m starting to make a lot of U-turns.

When I drive on the interstate, there are people on the corners again.
With signs or cups or sometimes nothing at all.
And I know some people think it is a dumb idea. Especially when they are standing on the corner right in front of the liquer store.
But I can’t help it, if I have cash I’m gonna give it away.
Or stop and buy them some food.
Or at least look them in the eye.

So in the last few weeks I’ve had to pull a few Uturns.
Because I know that something in my heart responds to this.
But that doesn’t mean I still don’t drive past the first time.
Or try to talk myself out of it.
Because I do.
But usually as soon as I go past I loop back around.
And meet Boomer in front of the EZmart.
Or John who asked if I could spare a burrito.
Or Dwight carrying a refrigerator box over his head that is likely to serve as his next apartment and I try and shove whatever cash I can into their hands.
And I ask their name and tell them mine. Because I think that matters almost as much as the money.

And usually have an uncomfortably sad conversation with my son as we get back on the interstate as to why we stopped. He has a lot of questions. Like why we gave away our burritos. Or why the man was carrying a giant box. Why they don’t have a home or teeth or a dad to take care of them. And once he even asked why Jesus didn’t take care of them. (my son, the pessimist, already asking all the hard questions) and I told him the best answer I could. That he told us to.

And today at church a friend told a story about another friend in the class who was in a parking lot and saw a man with a 2 year old in the backseat. Without a carseat. And she tried to keep walking. To talk herself out of it. But she couldn’t. She knew she was supposed to give him hers.
She made a U-turn. Figuratively at least.
And gave up her carseat. And it wasn’t an easy comfortable moment. But it was an obedient one.

Thankfully my son has yet to ask the hardest question. Why I almost never stop the first time around. Why we always have to loop back around. Why my heart never seems to work as fast as my accelerator. And I won’t have a good answer for him. I’ll just tell him that when you don't get it right the first time, not to be afraid to make a U-turn.


katy said...

Thank you for this post, which is challenging and honest. When I lived in Houston, I fought a daily internal battle as I commuted to and from work each day. Should I stop? Should I keep going? Can I help 1 even if I can't help 10? If I don't have cash, should I swing through a drive-through and return with food?

When I had cash on me, I was sometimes good about giving it away. Sometimes isn't good enough, of course.

Somehow I had an easier time helping people when I lived in Philly and New York, and there was no driving past -- just walking down the sidewalk and seeing someone huddled in a box over a street grate, hoping for help.

Now I'm back in College Station where we don't often see needy people on the roadside. But last week I passed by the same guy, in the same place twice. The intersection where he stood wasn't conducive to my stopping, and my heart really tugged at me to pull over and park, run across three lanes of traffic, and give him some money. I didn't do it. Either time. But I hope I get another chance.

Kristin said...

Amazing post. Thank you for making me think.

Busymomma said...

We just heard a sermon on this Sunday. Our preacher was talking about the season of Lent and how it is preparation for the coming resurection. He asked us not to think of giving something up that is trivial, like coffee, or chocolate, but to give of ourselves when given the opportunity. To give our time to listen to someone, to give from our pockets for the people we see on the corner, to give from our hearts and listen to God. He told us we should prepare our lives not only for the coming Easter season, but we should be preparing for when God will call us home.
A u-turn is better than no turn at all.

samskat said...

your post, and the following comments, are making me think. next time i'll stop. and give whatever i have. even if its my own lunch. thanks, as usual.