Monday, April 13, 2015

Monday Quotable

I think we are drawn to people in life—for better or for worse—because there is something in them that we see in ourselves. Sometimes, it takes a bit of digging to see the similarities and sometimes it’s like staring your soul’s mirror. Meeting these people is part of our growth because it can help force a confrontation of the things you don’t like in your own character or mirror back the things you really love and should develop further.  

In moments of teasing or disagreement, a friend used to always say, “You hate in me what you see in yourself.” For a long time, I blew that off. As I’ve grown, I have seen the truth in it. For instance, this weekend, I was at a gas station waiting in the car while Ash ran in for coffee. A woman came to the window. I knew she was asking for money but it was 3:00 AM in a neighborhood I wouldn’t walk through alone at night. I didn’t want to roll down my window and reach in my purse while I was alone. She wouldn’t leave. I finally cracked the window and listened. She started telling me her story and showing me her ID. She is a homeless veteran and said she would take money but really just needed food or hygiene items (deodorant, soap, etc.).  I told her I did not have anything but that when my husband came out, he might be able to help her. Ash came out and I slid him a dollar to give her. 

Then as we were driving away, we stopped and gave her more.  I also apologized for being so rude to her. I needed to acknowledge my terrible behavior and to honor her right to basic respect and human decency. She started to cry, said “God bless you” and walked away into the fast food restaurant next door. I had such an overwhelming feeling of guilt but not only for the obvious reasons. 

I always give to people who ask for money if I have it to give. I live in the city of scam artists but my philosophy has always been if your circumstances make you desperate enough to beg, you must need it more than me.  Last week, my nephew witnessed someone yelling at a panhandler to “Go get a job!” We had a long conversation about helping others and I was struck by his mature stance on the subject. He falls somewhere in the middle in judging who to give to and not but feels like everyone in dire straits deserves his respect. He won’t belittle their circumstances by brushing them off.

Less than 5 hours after we had that conversation and condemned the “Get a job!” mentality, I met the homeless veteran at the gas station and wouldn’t roll down my window.  In other words, I met a myself in a disguise I didn’t like (the "Get a job" guy) but I certainly learned a lesson from it.

Have you ever had a moment—good or bad—where you met yourself in a different disguise? Share in the comments!  

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