Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Gift That Keeps On Giving

To my son Tommy,

I was packed in my truck and just about to start off for work when my phone rang.  It was your mom and my head started going through all the things I could have forgotten to do.  "Did you remember to pick up the father's day picture from Tommy?" she asked as she added the knife twist, "He's brought it to my attention twice that you forgot to bring it into the office."  I went inside immediately and got it.  Your mom had taken the time to remind me of the important things in life.

As I came out looking at the popsicle stick framed picture and the book you made me, a gentleman started crossing the street and waving me down.  I thought I recognized him as a man who does some yard work and odd jobs for our neighbor Tunisha across the street.  He started with "I mean you no harm or anything" which is less reassuring than you would think.  He explained to me that he was trying to get to a shelter and get something in his belly.  He said he had asked a person at the bus stop for some help and they started throwing pennies at him and he got out of there fast to get away from any trouble and the meanness.  I put my father's day gift in the truck and reached in my wallet and gave him enough (probably a bit more than he expected) for a bus ride and a couple meals at a fast food joint, maybe a weeks worth if he sticks to the dollar menu. I wished him luck as we went on our ways.

Now when it comes to giving, I am a skeptic and prefer to give to those organizations whose job it is to make sure the resources go to the right people and the best way.  It takes away the burden of deciding if I am being scammed.  I hate to think that I am fueling any bad habits that perpetuate any situation.  But Sunday when we went to mass down in OCNJ, the priest in his homily told a story or parable of a young child who gave his sandwich to a homeless man and sat there having a nice chat.  In the story, when both the child and the homeless man went their separate ways, each told their friends or family that they had talked to God today.  Somehow when I looked down at your picture today, when I realized that, had I not been called in the house to focus on the important things in life, I would have missed this encounter totally,  I was moved to give no matter what the gentleman spends the money on.  Your father's day gift is the gift that keeps on giving.  It gave this gentleman a small reprieve and gave me another chance to open my heart...all because of you.

We live somewhere in the middle where money gets tight.  We watch our pennies but have some discretionary funds.  Twenty dollars isn't going to break us but I will probably skip any convenience store runs on my way to or from work for about two weeks.  I hope that gentleman finds a bed and some grub, and I hope that as you grow I give you good examples on how to give.

Sincerely with love from your dad,

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