Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Give or Not Give...

I was driving to Target to get my kitties' food with my daughters when I spotted a homeless man standing at the corner of exit way from the shopping center. He was clearly in need of help and almost painful to watch.

I could hear myself talking, "Oh no... what should I do, what should I do..." and before I knew, I turned around and back to where I came from. My Ju Ju soon realized that I changed my route and quickly asked, "Mama, where are you going?" - I told her not to worry and drove close to the man and switched to the left lane, so I could give him a few bucks when I drove next to him. "Mommy, what's that guy doing standing there?," Ju Ju asked again. "I think he needs help.." I answered...


When I drove close to him, I saw him holding a sign that read, {Need Work, War Vet, God Bless..} - my heart sunk. I quickly reached to my wallet and grabbed $3, drove right next to him and stopped. As I opened my window, he looked at me, so I said, "Excuse me, here, would you take this and get somethng to drink..." and handed the money. He walked towards me, and said, "Oh, you don't have to do that...." I said again, "No, take it.." - He thanked me and I sped off. "Mommy, what's wrong with that man, he looked kind of scary...," I heard Ju Ju saying in the back.... His face, arms and legs looked all burned from standing outside for so long - or from drinking, I just don't know.


There is a fine line between helping the need and helping the addicts/alcoholic getting their fix. I often see this young homeless couple in their early 20's standing in the middle of main road in my town, waiting for some kind drivers to give them money: clearly drug addicts who have no intention to make their lives better - I have no sympathy. They can starve themselves if only thing they want to do is to shoot up and be stupid.
But when it comes to the older people, I just don't know what to do. Many people are having really tough time these days. I've read many articles on newspaper about how quickly the Afghan and Iraq war vets are becomng homeless due to their injuries and not being able to work or their emotional scars have caused them not being able to hold jobs. Or people are losing their jobs and takeing forever to find a new job. I know too well how hard it is to find a good job because my husband had had tough time with it... Or there are many people who have jobs, but are homeless in Hawaii due to the increase in living expense and housing which is a major issue right now. So you never know how and why people become homeless and to bring your life to the lowest point you could ever imagine. It's tragic. It's really sad...


I told my daughters about the man that he needed a help because he's a homeless. "What is homeless?" - of course that was Ju Ju's next question, so I had to explain what homeless means. I think it's hard for them to understand because they are only small. Some people are very harsh about the way they look at homelessness in our town. I agree with some extent because many of them can help themselves if they really want to make their lives better. Some people however, I believe, don't even know how to work or start their lives again because they lose hope.... I feel really sad at times....


One of my favorite movies is called "The Fisher King" - Have you seen it before? It's about a DJ who has caused a horrible murders befriends with an ex-professor who became a homeless man. The professor loses hope after losing his beloved wife - lose everything...
I changed the way I look at homeless people after I saw this movie. Sometimes, you just don't know the history behind it...
What would you do if you see a homeless man/woman on the street?

8 comments:

eri said...

you are so kindhearted maki! i normally get scared!

Nicole Marie said...

its so hard here in the city because homelss people are everywhere! there's always the same 3 guys n my street begging for money. i give it to them a lot but at the same time one of them is a young guy. why is he here everyday and not looking for a job? kinda bothers me. i know its tough and really tough to get a job and he's probably getting more money begging than working but... i just don't know how to fix it.

Duchess said...

I live in a big city as well and it's so difficult to know when to stop and help and when to keep walking. Just this morning I was faced with the dilemma - I try and make the best effort I can while keeping my safety intact.

Congrats to you and the lesson you teach your children!

Maki said...

eri: I get intimidated too! {Hugs}

Nicole: Oh yes, I do remember there were SO many homeless people in SF. I used to be amazed by the number of people begging when I lived in Berkeley. I think Bay Area has more homeless people on the streets more than any other cities. It's really a sad situation....

Duchess: I totally understand what you're saying. It's so hard.. :(

Jodes said...

what a great example for your sweet ones. it's so great to try and explain these things to the best of their ability, even at that age. you are creating some compassionate little ones.

last year i got laid of from my job and was living on a friends' couch and lived off $80 for a month and a half. i was terrified i was going to have to use a food bank. i have ALWAYS been sympathetic to the homeless and hung out with them trying to understand them a little more and offer up some compassion, but nothing makes it moreso than a close call yourself.

photojoy said...

You are so brave and determined. I have to say I'm always pretending I don't see them when I walk across them. I'm just scared. I was once. A man came up to me and shouted something that I didn't understand at all. I froze over.

Southern Sage said...

Well I too feel bad about the homeless but I will tell you this. Often the homeless can have a bed and meals for free, but there is a catch, they have to be sober to get it. Often they choose to not be sober and not get the bed and meal. There are HUGE resources for vets, as well there should be, and they can take advantages of them if they are sober.

Giving blesses the giver, not the given. When you do that you SHOULD feel good. Charity is beautiful.

Maki said...

Jodes: Oh you must have been so scared to lose your job and going through all that. I know what's that like - my hubs couldn't find a job for a while and it scared me! I'm glad that you're okay now!
xoxo

photojoy: I know that feeling. I just want to know the difference between the timing of when I want to give and not give. It's so hard. Hugs!

Southern Sage: I didn't know that, Sexy cowboy! I really didn't. Now that explains it. I didn't understand why they have to beg when there are places for them to go... I'm so sad about this, some people are totally lost in hope:( xoxo

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