8.09.2008

Sharing

We were out today on a walk and this lady approached us, pushing two little girls in a stroller.
She made some small talk about Wesley and then said;
"Ma'am, may I ask you a favor?"
I said of course, and she seemed to take her time in getting her favor out. And then she said;

"Could you please buy my children some food? They haven't eaten in ages."

I felt horrible. I had all of $2 on me, which I didn't want to just hand to her - not because I mistrusted her, but because I didn't want to insult her request. There weren't any places within walking distance to buy food from, other than the farmers market, and they didn't take debit cards.
I wasn't close enough to my car to jump in and go pick something up for her children.

I asked her to give me a moment and I looked in the diaper bag - I had four dried fruit strips and a bag of gummy strawberries. I usually have granola bars and other snacks too. But sadly not today. I started to give her what I did have and she said no, she didn't want to take it.
Thinking at first that she didn't want someone elses food I started to reassure her that these were individually sealed and they hadn't been opened.

"Oh no ma'am," she said, "I can't take away your children's snacks."

I wanted to cry. Here were my babies in a super nice stroller, with full bellies, nice clothes, smelling good. And this woman was concerned about depriving my own children of their snacks when her own children hadn't eaten real food. I was embarrassed about all that my children did have.

I assured her that my boys would be completely fine without their snacks, and that we would love for her girls to eat them. She was still hesitant to take them, but at my insistence she did and she gave them to her girls right away.

She thanked me and we parted ways. When we were a bit of a distance away from her I stopped to check the diaper bag again. I was so sure I had granola bars in there. I always have granola bars! But again, I couldn't find them. I saw that she was watching me checking my diaper bag and she'd stopped walking, so I grabbed my $2 and took it over to her, apologizing for not having anything more to offer her and her girls.

This woman has been on my mind since we left her... I wish I'd had more with me to share with her.
I had considered offering her the diapers, wipes and blanket I had in my diaper bag but I couldn't get over my own American-ized self thinking "that's gross to get those things 'second hand'" (tho they were all clean!!) I wish I had offered, because now I will forever regret that I didn't offer, which I think is far worse than being embarrassed because I did offer and her turning her nose up.

14 comments:

Crystal said...

That's so sad. :( I hope she was able to get more food.

Sandy said...

You did your best Jess. God obviously had a reason for putting you together with her when you had nothing more than some snacks and 2 dollars...
maybe you'll meet her again!

Nicole said...

I hope you get a chance to meet her again Jess :o) I am glad you at least had something to give her. I am proud of you for helping her out! I hope she was able to find a food bank or something to help out her kids.

Rachel said...

I have to say, I am slightly suspicious of this woman. If my children hadn't eaten in "ages" I wouldn't have hesitated to take what snacks were offered them. I have heard of drug addicts doing stuff like this for money to feed their habit...hopefully she wasn't one. My husband and I were walking into a mall once and had someone give us a story. We gave him a few bucks, only to see him in the mall later changing a huge wad of cash for larger bills.

Claire said...

I hope you meet her again. And good for you for trying to help.

Cxx

Bethany said...

I have to say that you are much more trusting than I am. I'm so suspicious of people! I hate being that way, but maybe I get it from my Aunt Rachel (she's the one who commented above). Maybe that's something that the Lord wants to change in me. After all, I was reading in Hebrews this morning and chapter 13:2 totally applies to this story! (Ugh, the guilt!)

Jessica Morris said...

thanks for solving the mystery as to who Rachel is! When I click her name it always goes to a generic page ... does she have a blog?

Anyways... I am quite suspicious of people usually, but several things stuck out to me:

she asked for FOOD. She didn't want money. She wanted me to buy her girls some food.

she didn't want to take away food from my boys. To me this didn't seem suspicious, she seemed genuinely concerned about my own children.

she was humble and embarrassed. Sure, she could've been a con artist. But she was a good one if she was!

If it had just been a grown up asking me for food I'd of thought twice about giving food (and definitely money!!) away ... but she was asking for her children. I didn't feel it was my place to judge whether or not she'd done everything in HER power to feed her children. Maybe she did, maybe she didn't. But she did ask ME to do what I could to feed her children, and I couldn't say no to her children.

And now I am going to go read Hebrews 13:2 ;)

Jen said...

Jessica, you did what you could and that will go along way, atleast you didnt turn your head and walk away from her like some might have done.


It reminds me of the song
"What if she's an angel" -Steiner Tommy Shane

Bethany said...

Sweet Jessica, you did the very best you could!!!! (((Hugs)))

Bethany said...

My Aunt does have a blog... There is a link to it on my page :)

And you did make several good points about why she seemed to be honestly asking for help. It's just hard for me to trust people sometimes! Like I said before, that's probably something that's gotta change. I'm sure the lady was very grateful for your willingness to help in whatever way you were able.

Rachel said...

Sorry if I sounded cold and heartless, I'm really not. I just think that if this woman really wanted food, she would've been happy to take what was offered. My husband and I have had some experiences where we have been good hearted and given in such situations, only to find that the person was not being honest with us.
I wonder if you ran into her again and offered her granola bars or something, if she would be willing to take it for her hungry kids.

Bethany said...

She really is cold and heartless... Don't believe what she says ;)

morriscrew7 said...

Jessica,
Tears came to my eyes as I read you story. She sounds authentic to me tho' it's true, you can never know for sure. Sometimes if you can get into a conversation you can ask some questions to get a better feel for how to help. Suggest women's shelters, some churches offer meals, a crisis pregnancy center often will have ways to help and at least knowledge of where to get it. Regardless, I have prayed for this young women since I read your blog. Bless you for responding to her with compassion. Our Saviour will never waste your sympathy.Mom

morriscrew7 said...

Jessica,
Tears came to my eyes as I read you story. She sounds authentic to me tho' it's true, you can never know for sure. Sometimes if you can get into a conversation you can ask some questions to get a better feel for how to help. Suggest women's shelters, some churches offer meals, a crisis pregnancy center often will have ways to help and at least knowledge of where to get it. Regardless, I have prayed for this young women since I read your blog. Bless you for responding to her with compassion. Our Saviour will never waste your sympathy.Mom

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