just wanted to share a somewhat sobering experience real quick, that happened on the subway yesterday. i wrote about it in my little travel journal immediately after:
after a bunch of transfers, i got settled onto the F-train headed to brett's. immediately after i got in, a skinny man in a blue shirt and jeans came and stood directly in front of me, but perpendicular to my direction (facing the general car). he started talking to all of us in his thick new york accent:
he said that he wasn't one for begging for money. he prefaced his speech with something about how this is new york and people begging for money have corrupted new york as they just buy alcohol with their little money. he said that he doesn't do drugs (and repeated this statement multiple times). "if any of you have any extra food, though, anything, i would be so appreciative. you see, the YMCA doesn't include food. if i can round up $27, that's a full bed & breakfast. but really, any food or anything would be so appreciated."he said more than this, but it was all so sudden and unexpected that i can't even remember it all. he held with him a sign that explained his situation and a small paper sack, looking close to empty.
at the end of his plea, a man across from me gave him a small bag of nuts or something, and the petitioner looked so thankful and expressed his gratitude. he then looked over at me and we locked eyes for a second, as i was the only other one rummaging in my bag - - - but i felt like he didn't want to pressure me so he looked away, thanked everyone (though he only got one item), and exited.
please don't tell me that he was probably a schemer or to ignore this because it'll happen all the time (it already has); regardless of my happy, middle-class upbringing, i'm not ignorant. but i just felt that this man was truly sincere. even if he wasn't, how sad to be in a situation have to beg like that...?
as he left, i was sad to realize i did have a small water bottle, and also sad he left before i could offer it up.
so, i gave him what i could: a small but heartfelt prayer to God that if this man's heart and intentions were pure, he'd find what he needs.
the streets of new york are filled with apparent beggars and people who are less fortunate. there are people all over the world who struggle. i've passed many people on the street in similar situations. one yesterday struck me: a girl sat with a sign reading, "homeless, poor, and pregnant, please help". tonight i saw a man in the park struggling with tons of plastic to recycle, just to make some money. so many people struggle and i don't often see this in my home state. so, if you're religious (or even if you're not), could you maybe stop today, right now - - for about a minute and say a prayer for them? it just might help.