One day, while walking from legendary Library Mall toward our countries most beautiful Capital, I had a random encounter which will remain with me forever. The day was warm, sunny and with an unmistakable scent of spring. Campus tulips and daffodils were in full bloom; crabapple trees were beaming radiant life; students had rid themselves of winter cover and all was pointing to the emergence of new growth and abundant life... one of those incredible moments of mindless exhilaration from the realities of life. Then the unanticipated occurred.
While heading east on State Street toward the Capital, I encountered individuals experiencing that same moment through a different set of eyes — survival. My first encounter with such an individual was a Veteran shaking a can containing coins and displaying a sign reading “Homeless Veteran... in Need of Food.” While jolted from my experience of that idyllic moment, little did I anticipate the powerful gift I was about to be given.
Pulling cash from my pocket, I discovered a one-dollar bill and two fives. Not wishing to appear uncharitable and while standing in front of the gentleman, I gave him one of the fives and tucked away the remaining six dollars... I thought? As is pro forma, he “God blessed” me and I returned the blessing. Proceeding up State Street, I heard someone approaching from behind repeating the words “excuse me kind sir, excuse me kind sir.” Uncertain it was I being addressed, curiously, I turned around to see the gentleman I’d given five dollars, waving at me with money in hand. Allowing for him to catch-up, he approached with words I will never forget... “sir, six dollars fell out of your pocket and I wanted to return it to you!” I sincerely wish I had space to share the entire heart rendering encounter that ensued. Simply know, I insisted he keep the additional six dollars as a gift of gratitude for the hope he gave me. Serendipitously, he gifted me this... a reminder of the God given, innate goodness (spirit) that resides in all, if only we listen to our heart’s as did that gentleman.
Though experiencing scarcity and deprivation, this gentleman’s honesty and respect toward me will remain a sacred moment in my life; and, is a reminder of something my grandmother told me long ago, “always be charitable, you never know when you may be entertaining an Angel unawares.” It is my responsibility to share from my abundance, God controls the rest!
God’s blessings, Paul H