I believe that while we grow up there are certain moments that we remember for the rest of our lives. These moments tend to mold us into what we become as adults. On more than one occasion I saw my father give money to a homeless person. One particular time we were outside of a grocery store, just me and him, and he gave me a dollar and told me to give it to a man and tell him I saw him drop it. The man was not begging, but looked like he very well could have been. On countless occasions I’ve seen both my parents give charity through time, money, friendship, etc. I think their examples help me strive to be like them, though I do not always measure up.
A few months ago I was complaining to my parents about the situation of homeless people on the streets of Salt Lake. There are quite a few of them, and it is overwhelming when they ALL want something. I was telling my mom about rumors that a lot of them actually drive nice cars and make a lot of money posing as needy on the street. I even saw one man get into his car that was nicer than mine at the grocery store once. My opinion was that those who were really in need could go to the church welfare services and ask them for help, or there are other homeless shelters, etc around town. I could see the disappointment in my father’s eyes as I discussed this with my mother. I felt like he was maybe disappointed in me, or maybe disappointed in himself for failing at teaching me to have charity for those less fortunate.
For months I’ve felt guilty making him feel that way. I never want to disappoint my dad, and I knew that I had done just that. I wondered what I could do to correct my attitude and in so doing, make him proud of me again. I thought about getting $50 in ones and walking around SLC handing each homeless person I saw a dollar. But that never happened. Plus, I usually never even carry cash with me.
About a week ago I remembered that I had a dollar in my car in case of emergency. I remembered this just after driving past a homeless person by Wal Mart, and it was too late to give it to him without causing a major situation on the road. Guilty again.
So, Monday night was getting a few little groceries from Smith’s after my run. I won’t go into detail to praise myself on my blog, but I will say that after THREE TRIES (and driving halfway home before going back to do so) I finally figured out how to redeem my selfish heart just a little bit. It was such a good feeling to know that I could help someone in need. I wondered for a moment if they were really in need or just posing as such, but I realized that it didn’t matter. What mattered was that I did my part.
“For behold, are we not all beggars? Do we not all depend upon the same Being, even God, for all the substance which we have, for both food and raiment, and for gold, and for silver, and for all the riches which we have of every kind? …
“And now, if God, who has created you, on whom you are dependent for your lives and for all that ye have and are, doth grant unto you whatsoever ye ask that is right, … O then, how ye ought to impart of the substance that ye have one to another.” (Mosiah 4:19, 21.)