It would be impossible to write this post without sounding like I'm blowing my own trumpet, because the events of the two (short, I promise) compassion stories I'm about to share with you, were born of my own compassion. But, it's not MY horn I want to blow today... Ignore my horn! :o)
A while back, November-ish I think, Hubs and I were on our way to post some letters when we passed a homeless guy. He was sat on the pavement; head down, eyes closed, huddled.
Within moments of passing the man I was kicking myself for not stopping, and knowing that we would be crossing his path again on our way back to the Co-op I asked Hubs if he had any spare change in his pocket. He dug out what he had. It wasn't much.
The mans reaction when we stopped and handed over 'not-much' was smashing. His face lit up instantly. His expression a mix of surprise and... actually I'm not quite sure about the and; relief with a hint of joy I think.
At this point he had already made my day!
We said goodbye to the man and crossed the road to the Co-op, stopping first at the cash point just outside the store. While I was waiting for Hubs to withdraw the money we would need for our shopping I noticed another (elderly, frail) homeless man sat just to the right of us, outside the bakers.
I turned to hubs, and was just about to ask him if we could spare anything else, when I heard... "Come on mate, up ya get, I'll buy ya some breakfast." followed by a mumbled, (inaudible to me) reply.
I turned toward the voices (as nosey people do ;) and then watched in awe, as he (the man we'd just left on the other side of the street with not-much to his name) gently helped the somewhat bemused elderly man to his somewhat shaky feet.
Turns out not-much, as far as Mr Compassionate was concerned, was enough. More than enough for two!
I turned back to hubs, and under my breath, asked, 'Can we spare a bit more?'.
After adding a-little-bit-more to their not-much , we said goodbye to Mr Shaky and Mr Compassionate. They, one held up by the other and both smiling, shuffled off in the direction of the nearest cafe. We, also smiling, disappeared into the co-op to get the food we needed to cover our own meals that week.
Someone once said (Mary Poppins, I think), "Enough is as good as a feast."... Well then, I hope my Mr Compassionate, was served 'enough' fit for a king!
Some weeks later; the week between Christmas and New Year. We (me, Hubs and Littlie) were on our way to The Book Shop in Town (to spend Littlie's book-vouchers), when we saw another homeless man, sat on a concrete step between two shops. Eyes to pavement. In a world of his own.
He looked up, startled, when hubs approached him, and was just about to accept the coins offered when he suddenly pushed Hubby's hand away, exclaiming, "No, I can't!"
At first I thought we'd offended him, hurt his pride, but then he gestured toward Littlie (in her wheelchair) and said, "Disabled, I can't take from disabled, it's not right."
His reaction took my breath away. He was so sincere. Clearly, more concerned for us than for himself. Choked up even.
We're not well off by any means, Dear reader, but we had, just days earlier, enjoyed Christmas dinner (and pudding), by fairy-light-glow. Opened gifts. Eaten sweets. Watched Christmas TV... Together.
We have a roof over our heads; food in the cupboards. Hot water, home comforts, warm beds... Each other.
We're a long way from concrete!
Anyway, I, made brave by HIS compassion; took the coins from hubs, approached the man myself, and said, "please take it. It's not much, and I promise you... we have enough."
The man (I wish I'd asked his name) took the coins from my hand and said 'Thank you'.
As we turned to walk away he called out, 'Wait'. Then he stood up and shuffled towards us, saying, (addressing Littlie, but looking between us and her for approval), "Let me give you something; can I give you a kiss, Child." then gently, (as gentlemen do) he leaned forward and kissed Littlie on the cheek.
The Mum-in-me (without meaning to) had mentally clocked his grubby beard, queried germs, made a mental note to dig out the wet wipes when we were out of sight.
The ever-present-fear-in-me was on edge, not quite sure, fingers-crossed. Because, well, that's me.
But I didn't stop him. Nor (amazingly, for a germ obsessive such as me) did I wipe away his gift; his compassion (his 'enough'), when we were out of sight.
They didn't amount to much; the coins we gave him... they never do.
But there was love (and compassion) in the giving, and an unspoken; 'I-hope-it's-enough'.
Much like his gift to us!
Thank you for allowing me to share
I wish you enough.
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