There is a homeless man in our city that is always perched on his bike somewhere on the main road running through our town. (Yes one, we are in the burbs and he is the only one I have seen.)
We see him every time we leave the house, he is either bundled up, hunched over his bags and blankets in the winter, or riding up and down the street in the summer. I suspect trying to catch a little breeze in the heat.
Whenever I see him I feel bad.
I want to bring him a coffee or a water or a blanket or a fan, but I never do.
His name is Bruce.
I only know this because my brother-in-law, being the six and half foot teddy bear that he is, saw him one day on his way to our house, asked his name and why he was sleeping in the field and then gave Bruce the coat off his back and the hat on his head, when he was on his way to help us move... in the freezing cold.
Today, I had a moment of crazy and decided to venture to the mall with the little ones. As we headed inside we saw the ever-present bell ringers of the holiday season, collecting money for the Salvation Army.
I echoed Merry Christmas to the freezing volunteer but, with full hands, did not put a dime in his bucket.
I told myself I would catch him on the way out but never did.
So this afternoon, while driving home from the mall, frazzled from all the get-back-here's, don't-touch-that's and we-are-leaving-NOW's of our trip, I find myself stuck in the slowing traffic of our two lane road to home, getting aggravated because it is nap time and they need it and I need it.
Sure enough someone decides he MUST cut in front of me and, as I am muttering under my breath about the fact that cutting me off isn't going to get him anywhere, and where exactly does he think he is going, I see that he is pulling his car off the road.
The man, that I am cursing under my breath for disrupting my five minute drive that is taking too long for my worn patience, gets out and walks up to Bruce, who I had not even seen in my world of crabbiness, and hands him the money in his wallet.
I looked back at my windshield through blurry eyes and was ticked. At myself.
Sometimes I think the bitterness I feel for the hand I have been dealt clouds my view of the fact that there are others who have been dealt a hand a card or two less.
I was reminded today that I need to slow down the carousel, help when I know I should and give when I know I can.
If you need me I will be rehearsing the art of removing money from my purse with my foot, so I can drop some in that little red bucket next time I pass a bell-ringer and my hands are full
... after I find Bruce and invite him over for Christmas dinner.