Take everything with a grain of salt. Watch your back. Don’t trust just anyone, especially someone who says, “Trust me, baby, I know what I’m doing.” Be skeptical. Check it out. Trust your gut. Words of wisdom.
Who wants to be anybody’s fool, especially in a world where people mistake kindness for weakness, or worse yet, for stupidity?
I was riding in a car with a friend when we passed a
homeless woman strategically positioned by an intersection. She was displaying an elaborate multicolored sign asking for money. I asked, “If she’s so broke, where’d she get money for colored markers?”
More than once, I’ve seen this friend stick a dollar—or five—in a beggar’s hand and gently say, “God bless you.” And mean it. My friend, now happily married with two children and a promising career in the arts, explained why. Years ago, she had lived in a big city. That’s where she had gotten into recovery for her own addiction to alcohol and other drugs.
“I was lost,” she said. “I didn’t believe I could get sober. I was using so much cocaine, it’s a miracle I’m still alive. The way I was living was … disgusting. But I couldn’t stop.
“I decided to attend a meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous. I was so confused, I didn’t even feel like I belonged there. Then this one guy befriended me. I felt safe with him. He’d sit by me at meetings. He called a couple times each day. Sometimes he even stopped by my apartment and walked me to a meeting, just to make sure I’d go. He never did anything out of line. His friendship was a big factor in saving my life. I’m not sure I would have kept going to those meetings, especially in the beginning, if it hadn’t been for him.
“He was a nice guy and had been clean from drugs for some time. But about the time recovery started kicking in for me, he started using heroin again. I couldn’t believe it at first. He avoided my calls. Then he just disappeared. One day, I saw this beggar. He was all dirty and disgusting, sitting up against the wall, with a tin cup in front of him.
“I looked more closely. He was so out of it he didn’t recognize me, but I knew him. It was the guy who helped save my life. I’ll never look at a beggar or a homeless person the same way again,” my friend said. “It could be me someday. Or it could be someone who saves my life—or the life of someone I love.”
How do we stay un-jaded in a cynical world? The answer to that question isn’t any easier than doing it. We do the best we can.
Value: Some people call it not becoming jaded. Others call it staying open. A few brave souls actually say the words opening our heart. Call it whatever makes you comfortable. That’s the value we’ll practice this week.