Posted by: Upāsaka | 05/25/2015

Let Me Buy You Lunch

This afternoon I was able to take a walk through my neighborhood and then on into a few others both trying to get in some much needed exercise and also looking for an opportunity to give. Lately, I have been wanting to do more first-person, direct giving and NYC offers tremendous opportunities for doing that. And yet, I often find myself passing people by without giving. Why is that?

I think fear is probably the largest stumbling block. Fear of their reaction. Fear of being seen giving to them. Fear that they will misuse the gift. Fear of being a sucker. So, as a walked along 14th St I saw a number of people: young punk kids with there dogs and sleeping bags, older people with obvious mental illness and everything in between. As I passed each one my anxiety grew and I kept returning to the breath for solace. Finally, I had crossed Fifth Ave and the number of homeless sharply declined.  I made a pact with myself that I would swing back and give to someone if I found no one to whom I felt inspired to give.

Just around this time I had crossed Sixth Avenue and the huge, art-deco facade of the Salvation Army came into view. On its steps sat an old man with a hoodie on and a Styrofoam cup in his hands. For whatever reason I felt compelled to give to him so I walked up and asked “May I buy you lunch?” He gladly accepted and we worked out what he wanted (to his delighted surprise) and we both got what we needed.

I must admit that both before and after I was troubled by my motivations to give to some rather than others but I may just need to make peace with that. Nothing is perfect and my intentions are certainly not completely pure but I wanted to help and, deserving or not, the reward of seeing the old man receive the food while we shook one another’s hands and looked into one another’s eyes is more than enough justification to continue to give wherever and whenever I feel so inspired.


Responses

  1. Yup!!!!


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