E (my five year old daughter) and I were on our own. It was going to be a whole week. Husband was away so we decided to break it up. We had been so good. Eating healthy, smoothie drinking, making her lunches for school instead of relying on the cafeteria, we needed a girls night out.
It was only Wednesday.
So I picked her up from school at the usual 5:30 p.m. and we went for a “snack” – kid speak for Happy Hour. I had a gin gimlet and she a Shirley Temple, and we took down the better part of a California roll while sitting outside under a gorgeous February night sky with the heat lamps keeping us cozy while scrubbing the odd grain of sticky rice from her little fingers and laughing easily. Afterward, a little shopping: a new sweatshirt and something for Mexico later this month. Then down the street for dinner where we ate thin crust wild mushroom pizza and steak frites while watching the Clippers whoop on Utah. Not really whoop, but we high fived every time they did for the sheer fun of it. Finally, with only one slice of pizza left, but being someone who hates waste (we can thank Annette and my dear Dad here), we got the single wrapped and waltzed out and down the street to the ocean cliffs where our warm car waited to whisk us home to our warm beds.
There are a good number of homeless people in this part of town so I thought we would have seen many by then but I guess it was getting a little late, so the first person we spotted was when we got to the car. Lying out in the grass with something over his head to block out the light and help him sleep it looked like he was done for the night. I was discouraged but I took E’s hand anyway and we walked up to the seemingly sleeping figure. I didn’t want to startle him so I said softly, “It’s only one slice” as I set the box down next to his things and turned quickly to walk away. As we looked back over our shoulders we saw him stir right away and then sit up reaching for the box. “Thank you!” We heard him call out as he sat silhouetted in the moonlight bent over the meager offerings as if in a prayer. Or was that me? That one slice with wild mushrooms, when we had distractedly eaten so many, affected three lives deeply that night. And I am thankful for the reminder that man gave us in return…
Don’t tell yourself that people aren’t hungry.
Don’t tell yourself that people don’t need your help, your mercy, your open hearted lack of judgment. Don’t tell yourself that what you have to give isn’t enough. That it doesn’t matter if you don’t give it.
If only just long enough to hand over what runneth over from your own fortunate plate.