My brother, Adam, had very eclectic taste in music. Before a country/hip-hop collaboration was cool, my big bro was collabbin' Bob Marley, 80's hairbands, DJ Jazzy Jeff, Run DMC and Kenny Rogers on a regular basis. He truly loved all kinds of music, and dancing like a fool, was a natural accompaniment.
One of his favorite songs around the time of his death was Mr. Wendal. One of the best known lyrics from the song is the opening line:
"Here, have a dollar,
in fact, nah, brotherman here, have two
Two dollars means a snack for me,
but it means a big deal to you...
Be strong, serve God only,
know that if you do, beautiful heaven awaits..."
I decided to use another gift card from The Unnamed Benefactor of Kindness who anonymously mailed me a few gift cards to use on others this month. I had a plan to give the gift card to someone unsuspecting that I had in mind, but my plans changed as I was driving to my Bible study last night. I had the card in my pocket, ready to deliver, when I pulled up to a red light and saw a man, holding a sign.
Will work for food.
I had this Starbucks gift card just burning a hole in my pocket. This guy is sitting there, and as I pulled up and rolled down my window, he didn't even look my direction. How long must one sit and hope and experience disappointment before they stop noticing someone actually willing to give?
So, I yelled to get his attention, he startled, came over and I handed him the gift card. He looked at it, unsure. I had a brief and horrible vision of someone handing out empty gift cards to homeless people as a cruel joke. It made me sick, and worried that his hesitance was due to the same worry. I said "Hey, the card is good, it's ten dollars to Starbucks."
His eyes widened, and he did the whole "Really!? Are you sure!? Why?? For me?"
I reassured him that it was definitely just for him, and not to think twice about it, and that it really wasn't a big deal at all... (granted it was not my money, but someone else's, but the reality remains that ten dollars here and there for most of us, really isn't that big of a deal.)
He looked at me in total disagreement and said "Ten dollars!? That's like chocolate chip mocha frappeccino kind of money!"
It turns out, he's one of those lottery guys. Like Mr. Wendal, a little generosity means a big deal to him.
I know that people have mixed emotions about helping homeless people. Sure, he could just be down on his luck, despite good choices and hard work... but I know that some will say "he doesn't want warm coffee, he wants crystal meth." And maybe that's true. But, maybe, even if just for the night, the warm coffee and the warmth of a stranger gave him just enough of a high to think twice. And if not, that part isn't really my business... my job was to respond to the prompting to serve God by showing kindness and compassion, and I have no regrets about that. That is how my brother lived his life, and I know that not long after this jam hit the airwaves, my brother went home a beautiful heaven.