Sunday, November 27, 2005

Is there a beacon on my head

or what? SK hasn't called us all week. I don't know what that means, but I suspect it means she has found an easier "touch" after we set some limits on her going through the parish directory asking different people for money, or it means she's fallen off the wagon. I don't know which is really worse since both are symptoms of the same disease. Lord have mercy.

So. N. shows up at our Mission last night. She stopped in on her way home from work at the Mall.
She had called twice earlier in the week and the second time it was as if she had forgotten she'd called the first time. We gave her service times. She showed up at one of them. She asked us for prayers for two of her co-workers who got laid off earlier that week. She asked for prayers for her departed best friend who died in a tragic accident. She asked for 60 bucks for a motel room to hold her over until she got paid. In that order.

Bill says, you must have a neon sign on you somewhere. Yeah, perhaps God put it there because I need the testing. I taught the catechumen's class this morning on the Nativity fast and alms. Give to the undeserving poor, judge not, thank God, imitate Christ. What's sixty bucks to me? In the grand scheme, pocket change. I've dropped that on lunch.

What's it to God? Maybe its the warning light on my dashboard. If I don't give or can't give ungrudgingly, without judgment, gladly, without fear of condemnation, then the red warning light goes on. DANGER WILL ROBINSON!! I'll be the first to tell someone that money is the last thing on my mind as a goal in life. I make enough, more than enough to live on, and I am able to be generous to a lot of causes. But I pick most of them.

But I get picked a lot. Homeless people pick me out in crowded parking lots, in stores, on the street...they make a beeline straight for me past plenty of other people who look more like money than I do. "Hey man, I lost my job, my wife and kids are in the car hungry, I need a motel for the night, my car is out of gas and I'm on my way to...." I don't know why they pick me out. I dress like a slob, most of the time I'm in painter's pants and a t-shirt, so I don't look rich or like I have a lot of cash. But most of the time I have a couple hundred in my pocket just because.

So yeah, I think I do have a beacon on my head. Maybe God put it there, or maybe God let Satan put it there..."Hey Satan...Behold my servant Steve, he has a successful business, he serves the Church, he's generous to many ministries on My behalf..." "Ah, but is he REALLY generous? Does he give merely to You because You've blessed him? Let weirdos instead of nuns attack his wallet and he will curse You and Your undeserving paupers You claim to love so much...." "Make it so...."

I dunno. That's pretty egotistical. Of course, I'm an egoist, so sure I'd think I'm all that important. sigh....What do I know for sure? I know that God has blessed me far beyond what I deserve in this life, He has not rewarded me according to my iniquity nor recompensed me according to my sins. I am the undeserving pauper who approached God one morning after trashing my life and the lives of many around me and asked for a place to stay, a meal, a couple bucks to get home, and a kind word. I got them all. How can I but give what little God has given to me to someone who asks for no particular reason but that they have the balls to ask?


Grace said...

"...How can I but give what little God has given to me to someone who asks for no particular reason but that they have the balls to ask?"

I've thought over the different possible responses to someone begging for a handout, and in the end, what you're saying here is just about what goes through my head.

It's tricky, of course, because there's nothing virtuous in being co-dependent either.

The sad truth that everyone bumps up against -- both the cynic and the idealist -- is that there really isn't one correct answer for people who are this broken. I'd love to see one turn their life around, just to believe that it can happen. But I won't hold my breath. And -- like you -- I won't hold onto the spare change and whatnot they ask for. I'll have to find out in heaven how often I'm blowing it.

s-p said...

Hi Grace,
Yep. "Codependence" and "enabling" are two mortal sins of the modern faith of psychobabble. If codependence and enabling are measured by giving people with free will the stuff to fry their brains, abuse their bodies, make themselves sick, or lose everything then the "Prodigal's Father" and God is guilty. My freedom in Christ is to give as God has given to me. The recipient's freedom is to do whatever the "hell" he wants to with my gift, the same freedom God has given me along with His handout to me. That's the bottomest line I've been able to come to yet so far.

Elizabeth said...

Hi s-p
funnily enough, this morning I read Tobit 4:14 -16
"give of your bread to the hungry, and of your clothing to the naked. Give all your surplus to charity, and do not let your eye begrudge the gift when you make it."
It`s a lesson I wish I could learn !