Now I am in a bit of a quandary, because as Jesus said, “Don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing.” And again, “Therefore when you are doing your alms, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Truthfully I say unto you, They have their reward.”

But, how do I tell of my journey??? So, I will error on the side of recanting my weekend.

This weekend I packed up all my old clothes, shoes, socks, you name it, in order to give them away. I took my running cart, and loaded it up with a huge black bag filled with jackets, t-shirts, pants, shorts, and went running. I went looking for homeless people. It is really hard to find them when you are actually looking oddly enough.

The first guy I met was named Harold. He was happy to take what I had, and mentioned that he too also gives to others. I thanked him for doing that. We all have pride, it is hard to see yourself as someone in need, to say I need help. I’m sure Harold does give to others, but he was sure to point it out to me, and retain his dignity. At that moment, I questioned if I were doing the right thing. Was I loving Harold by causing him to feel less than “worthy”?

Having no answer to this question, I persisted, thinking it best to try to love on others and fail, than to not. I’ve heard that the problem in our cast culture, and we do have a cast culture in America, is that the rich don’t know poverty. They know of poverty, but they don’t know anyone in poverty. If they did, there wouldn’t be any poverty to think of. We have done quite a good job of insulating ourselves behind our gated communities and our security guards to keep the riff-raff out. I have been first among people determined to keep those in poverty at arms length.

I next met “Angel”. She took quite a few t-shirts. Then Alan who was extremely happy to get a rain jacket. I then met a number of men down at the St. Vincent’s shelter that were exuberant to receive the sweaters, shoes, and pants. When I arrived there were two men in an argument, but afterwards, I believe because of the peace I was attempting to exude, the men were peaceful.

At my next stop, I was able to get to know some men just out of rehab, giving them sport coats and dress shirts one man exclaimed, “Man, everything I lost, I just got back.” Happy to be of service.

I next met Maura. She and her husband were digging in a dumpster. I gave her some clothes. She had the most beautiful craggy face with a wonderful red turban wrapped around her silver hair. A life has been lived behind those eyes. I asked her to draw her portrait. As I drew her she told me that she was 83, and she and her husband had sold all their cows back in the Philippines in order to come to America. She was a wonderful woman to talk to, but man she could not sit still. She was worse than Susan! 🙂 I prayed that I would do a good portrait of her, and the universe answered my call. “Peace #6”, but unfortunately I had no camera to photograph it before I gave to her.

It was hard to give away the last of it. It wasn’t the right size or the right color for the people’s needs. But, finally my bag was empty. I was happy to have helped. I had taken $20 with me to get something to eat after the run, but then I saw this man digging in a garbage can for food. I thought, how can I see my brother hungry when I am well fed, and I will be better fed tonight. How can I let him be hungry. So I asked him if I could buy him some food. He said, “Right ON!”

So I ran home, my bag empty. I went to look at my bank account. In the last couple of weeks I have been giving away a lot of money. I had just enough to pay my bills with a bit left over. I’ve haven’t had so little in savings for a long time. It is a bit scary. Do I have to bring myself down to need level? Again, I have to test the axiom, “Sell all that you have to give to the poor”. I am going to keep my art books and art supplies, I could sell them all, but it just doesn’t seem like what I am being called to do right now. So, I step out now and will, like a scientist testing a hypothesis, test to see if what Jesus said is true.

“And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

I’m not a “Christian” nor am I sure who Jesus was. But, I am willing to test the hypothesis. I do know only this. I feel better, and the world seems better (so far) when I try it. The experiment continues……….