How much do you give the homeless people you come across on the street? Do you give nothing, or everything, or something in between the two? Do you walk by and not look them in the eyes, or do you look at them and smile as you pass them. There is a man who sits on the ramp that leads to the supermarket that I go to everyday. He holds a little boy, not more than 3 years old in his lap and holds out a box with his free hand. I am not sure if the boy is sick, but everytime I pass him, the boy is asleep.
My first reaction is disgust that he would use this child to get money. But then I think, if the boy is really sick then he should get more money from us becuase he needs it to help the child. Growing up in towns like San Francisco and Santa Cruz, i ahve always seen homeless people on the streets, and somewhere down the line, I decided that I didn´t like giving money to them, except for the elderly and really young, but I was okay with giving them other things like food or blankets. So yesterday I passed the man and decided that I would add something to my shopping cart for the child. I bought some powdered milk that was especially made for children under the age of 5. But as I handed the man the milk, I wondered why I didn´t just give him all the money in my wallet.
Okay, before I get concerned phonecalls frm my parents, let me explain. For the last four years, I have noticed a change in me. I haven´t really felt comfortable with money. i can trace it back to the time when I thought I should go be homeless for a year in the parks of San Francisco. I laugh about it now, since I was only 18 at teh time, but I was serious back then. somehow my plan didn´t work out. But slowly I have notived that I am not comfortable with money the way I used to be. Don´t get me wrong, I love having nice clothes, and good food, and a comfy bed, and I loved my laptop. But every once in a while I remember that there are so many people who have so little, and I suddenly feel very uncomfortable.
How much should I give? How much should I keep? How much is enough? If I truly love those people, won´t I give them more than I give myself? Is it compassion that I am feeling, or guilt?
I was thinking about the whole money issue last night as we watched the presidential debates for the run-off election here in Chile. (Side note: the run off is between a man named Piñera and a woman named Bachelett. As oppossed to US politics where I don´t really like either and I have to choose which is the less evil, I actually like BOTH candidates and think that both would make excellent presidents.) Anyways, the candiates could spend up to 8 million dollars on campaign. Here is my question: How can we change that so the 8 million goes ONLY towards the poor of the country. Why are our leaders spending all this money on tv ads, and banners, and posters, when there are children starving?
IF YOU HAVE MADE IT THUS FAR IN THIS BLOG... I´m sorry it was so long, but I think this is something that will forever be in the back of my head. I really am interested in what you have to say about it though. So for those of you who read and never write (Danielle, David, Chubs (although while you´re in Thailand I don´t expect much), Sarah, and the rest of ya´all, tell me what you think.)