She kissed my hand

Yesterday, I was running errands in my hood when I was approached by this lady asking for money to buy food. Over the course of the many years that I've been in D.C., my heart has hardened to requests for money. You would think that after spending time with Charlie at GWU, I would be very giving to others. Plus, I can still remember the time I was without my wallet on Capitol Hill and had to rely on the kindness of a stranger to get back to work. But no, I haven't given out money in a while. I'm too suspicious and though, I could care less if the person uses the cash for liquor and cigarettes instead of food, I just wonder how helpful my money is in the long term (money to a shelter/soup kitchen vs. to an actual homeless person). Perhaps, the wall around my wallet and heart stems from the time a homeless person threw a Whooper at me (wtf, I was only trying to help!).

But yesterday, I was in a good mood. I scored some great cufflinks to give as gifts to the Hill staffers that helped me with my job search. A woman approached me and asked for money for food. As usual, I was skeptical and scanned her attire. She looked well-off enough, but I knew that looks can be deceiving and so many people have to choose between paying the electricity bill/rent and buying food/medicine on a regular basis. So I told her that I would buy her food but with a credit card. At this point, I still thought it was a scam and didn't want take out a wad of cash. I bought her a meal at the food court and she was very grateful. Apparently, a few of the other people that she had asked were indifferent or started to talk about their own money problems. Then, she kissed my hand.

Whoa, I'm not royalty or anyone of importance. No one, but a playful lover should ever kiss my hand. I'm no different than her. I may be comfortable financially, but given a little misfortune or a few bad decisions I could easily be in the same predicament. In fact, most Americans are just a few missed paychecks or a life emergency (death of breadwinner, disability/medical accident, etc) away from major debt that can lead to homelessness. That's why an emergency fund is so important! In this woman's case, she was on disability and was having trouble meeting her needs in between checks.

We shook hands and hugged before I left. As I turned to walk away, she noted that my good deed would come back to me 100 times over. Sorta like that commercial with the chain reaction of folks helping out each other. Sure, I believe in karma. But I think that fortune has already smiled on me. After a year of anxiety and disappointment about my career, social life and love life, I'm on my way to living a few of my dreams. Sure, it took a lot of a hard work cultivating skills and relationships, but I believe that where I am today is also the result of opening my heart to new opportunities and experiences. I finally got a job on the Hill, I started learning Spanish, and I'm on my way to the Peace Corps. All three are things that I've been dreaming of for many years.

I do hope that yesterday's good deed will come back to me, but mostly I think it is really my turn to send good karma and positive energy back into the universe.

No comments: