last year i wrote some reflections on giving during lent. i had, and still do, struggled with what was the "right way" to give. money, food, clothes.
and, to be honest, my reflection stopped just about when lent was over. and even though begging and pleading and money-jars are thrust at me every.single.day, i pushed my conflict to the back of my mind and stopped trying to figure it out.
until a few weeks ago a windshield washer, who i explicity told not to wash my windows, tried to wash my car windows. when i told him to stop, he took it personally.
"when we beg, you all hate us. when we steal, we're wrong. when we try to work for a living, you still won't help us."
the kid couldn't have been older than 16. he went on and on about how hard his life is and how difficult people make it for him.
and, it killed me. eventhough he was working to make a living, he couldn't force me to support him. my windows were clean and you can't mandate that people accept your services if they don't need them. and yes, i felt bad for him. he was out, late at night, washing windows trying to make money. no kid should have to put their life in danger to get a few bucks.
and that's what it is. no kid should have to do that.
i didn't feel bad for that particulary boy - his obstinance made me want to get out of the car and punch him in the face - but for all of the boys washing windows late at night. or shining shoes . or selling toilet paper door-to-door.
because kids should be in classrooms, not on street corners. they should be supported and loved by their families.
and sometimes. a lot of times, that's just not reality.
i could give every kid some pesos each time i see them working, but it's not going to fix their problem. it's not going to take them off of the street and into homes filled with people who have time and energy to spend with them. it's not going to make their lives any different than it already is.
the past few weeks have been packed. i'm busy, i'm tired, i'm bothered. i even landed myself in the emergency room on monday morning with shortness of breath and a good scare. and over and over again i've been faced with and reminded of the need that others around us has; pressed with how little that i, one lonely individual, can do to make it all better.
but, i've been reminded in all of this, that we are not alone. and that if we work together we can spark the motivation in others to do something as well. and just because 5 pesos seems like nothing, or my windows don't really need to be cleaned and i can't fix it all, 5 pesos might buy a snack to fill a belly, or pay for a pill that a family member needs. and my 20 minutes devoted to helping someone in need multiplied by all of the 20 minutes of everyone around us add up to a lot of time helping others.
this lenten season i've refocused and decided to meditate this all again. it's important to me. to settle my mind and look for direction with how to help, how to serve and how to share.