Thursday, December 23, 2010

Random Encounters With the Spirit of Christmas

He appeared out of nowhere, suddenly there, yanking me out my daydream.

“Hey lady. I’m hungry.” His voice was hoarse and slurry and he struggled to pronounce his r’s. “Do you have some change for my brother and me? We haven’t eaten in two days”.

Caught off guard, my mind whirled into overdrive trying to process …

“No one will give us any money.” He stood in front of me, dressed in his well loved ski jacket and toque, shifting from foot to foot, obviously anxious as well as cold.

“Why do you think that is?” I mumbled and fumbled with my scarf trying to buy myself some time as I decided what I was going to do.

“Cause it’s Christmas lady! No one wants to part with their money.”


“I will give you all the change I have,” I said as I opened my wallet. I can already hear the collective gasps of protest from the side that says this only perpetuates the problem. I had $4.57 in coins which I immediately handed over to him. He counted it out and then looked up at me and smiled. “Thank you Mam. Merry Christmas.”

“Merry Christmas to you too.”

Would he buy food or drink the money? Frankly I didn’t care. I don’t want to be blind or pretend I don’t see them on the sidewalk. Them - the homeless, the disenfranchised, the ones who talk to themselves as they push their carts along the road; the ones who wander aimlessly, detached and alone; the ones from which we avert our gazes. I don’t walk to step around or over them. I want to see everyone. And darn it all, if I have a pocketful of change to share, I am going to share it. And I am going to start sharing more than that … I think he may have given me something far greater than the change in my pocket. This  quote from Mother Teresa is my inspiration.

Let us not be satisfied with just giving money.
Money is not enough, money can be got,
but they need your hearts to love them.
So, spread your love everywhere you go.


  1. You are a kindred spirit!!! I would have felt the same!!! Merry Christmas, dearest Lyn!!! Love you!! Janine XO

  2. The foreign girl stood outside the store trying to sell the Big Issue to a not very appreciative customer base. I ddn't want another BI so I just gave her the money in my hand as I left the store.Didn't actually make me feel good as it wasn't enough, but it's what I had.
    Happy Christmas Lyn my friend.


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