These days it seems like the homeless are everywhere: camping in our parks, living beneath bridges, sleeping over sidewalk grates on cold winter nights, and rummaging through garbage cans on city streets. How many of us look at them and wonder whether they are really homeless or professional beggars. It is hard, really hard, to see them as individuals whose needs mirror ours.
Esther Elizabeth befriended a homeless man named Fred and shared the story of his life in the following poem which she wrote after his death.
According to Fred©
I had lunch with Fred every month for nearly 20 years.
I found him intriguing, funny, insightful,
challenging, and difficult.
Fred hated being seen or treated as homeless, hated being discounted.
When Fred died it took my husband and me less than 30 minutes
to empty out the small monk-like room where he had lived.
We left with two pairs of shoes, five books, and an alarm clock,
seven one-dollar bills and a sack full of receipts
from organizations where he had given money.
The receipts had confirmed just how much he had given.
It was astonishing – thousands of dollars to non-profit organizations
engaged in serving the needs of the poor and marginalized.
Fred didn’t need to boast or tell others about his giving.
He just gave – a lot.
I’ve long considered myself a giving, generous person.
Now, I’m not so sure. Unlike Fred, the amount of money I give
seldom impacts my budget or alters my way of living.
I give my time often according to convenience. I give things
away I do not want. My giving is tax-deductible.
As I have learned from Fred
Is a way of life.
We are not called to be homeless or to emulate Fred’s example, but we are called to learn from it and be more generous ourselves. How do you plan to increase your giving; to live more simply that others may simply live?
Blessings on your soul searching,
Copyright ©2017 by Esther Elizabeth, used by permission