Give a Little, Get a Lot

Today our heroine is not (necessarily) writing about writing, dear Reader. That this post is being published to the blog just prior to Thanksgiving is coincidental, if you believe in such things.

Please let me tell you a story. It’s non-fiction, actually. I live in an extremely well-heeled town. In fact, it’s the only sizable town in what has been named the Richest County in the Country. I tell you this so you’ll understand how unusual it is to see someone by the side of the road with a sign.

We saw him yesterday for the first time. His sign read “Homeless Vietnam Vet.” We had no cash, but just picked up some burgers, so we stopped to give him one. Such a nice gentleman. My son and I wished we had more to give. (We are not exactly adding to the county’s status.) He was out again today, so while we were doing our shopping, I picked up some things for him.

I have some experience in being homeless. I shopped for the gentleman, picking up several items I knew I would have prized back then. Protein bars, fruit with pop-top lids, sweatpants without shredded knees, ibuprophen, even a chocolate bar. We don’t have much to spare, but we could spare that.

When we pulled up, he said, “You’ve stopped here before,” and blinked as I handed him the grocery bag. He didn’t look into it, just held it close, said it was gold to him. I mentioned my wish I had a place for him to stay, but he reassured me that he was okay. “You get home safely,” he said as we waved goodbye.

In his voice, I heard resilience and strength. I remembered having to rely on those qualities. On how I still must, but in differing circumstances. It was a moment I’ll treasure, looking him in the eye and seeing his openness to receiving help. He reminded me of being open to the possibilities life offers.

In Buddhism, we find those called Boddhisatvas. Essentially, these are individuals who have achieved Nirvana, but stand in the doorway to it. They reach out their hands and help us in mysterious ways to move toward them. I couldn’t help but think of him as one. I am filled with gratitude for his gift.

Are you watching for the Boddhisatvas or guardian angels in your life? I find them daily on Twitter, too. Fellow writers who share what they’ve learned along with their encouragement and support. Those who cheer one another on and celebrate each others’ victories. It is such a joy to be among you here on the blog and on Twitter. Thank you.

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10 thoughts on “Give a Little, Get a Lot

  1. Johanna Harness November 22, 2010 at 8:32 pm Reply

    What a beautiful post, Jess. You made me cry. Thank you.

    Like

    • Jessica Rosen November 24, 2010 at 9:31 am Reply

      Thanks, Johanna. I hope they were happy tears. Mine were.

      Take care,
      Jess

      Like

  2. Teresa Frohock November 22, 2010 at 8:39 pm Reply

    That is beautiful, Jessica. Isn’t it wonderful how our most devastating experiences can lead us to be of service to others? You are a blessing.

    Like

    • Jessica Rosen November 24, 2010 at 9:33 am Reply

      You’re very kind, Teresa, thank you. We are the sum of our lives, the “good” parts and the “bad.” Hard to really think of them as one or the other when they contribute so much to who we become. Easy to say from a distance in time, I suppose.

      Take care,
      Jess

      Like

  3. John Ross November 23, 2010 at 1:52 am Reply

    yes, true that. What you said, far better than I could have, though I know the feeling. Here in Portland, we have thousands of homeless. I try to stop & help when I can, which is less often than I’d hope. I am often pleased to note how gracious some of these folks are in the midst of very hard times. “It’s no secret that a friend is someone who let’s you help” U2 – THE FLY, from Achtung Baby.

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    • Jessica Rosen November 24, 2010 at 9:38 am Reply

      Excellent reference to U2, John. Thanks for your comment. I agree with you in that I’d like to help more. I’m making a point of looking for the little ways I might be able to help others. I’m sure you know what I mean: it may seem little to me – and that’s all I can do – but it makes a big difference to someone else. You’re doing a good thing when you stop and help where possible. Don’t sell yourself short on that.

      Take care,
      Jess

      Like

  4. Beth November 24, 2010 at 11:56 am Reply

    I am touched by your story, but not surprised by your helping others. An amazing story from an amazing woman. You’re an example of what the world has going for it 🙂 Have a terrific holiday with the kids. You all deserve it!

    Like

    • Jessica Rosen November 24, 2010 at 3:41 pm Reply

      Thank you, Beth. That’s very nice of you. I hope you and your family have a fantastic holiday – with football! We’ll be watching Star Trek all day on a BBCAmerica marathon. So looking forward to it. I hope you are as well.

      Take care,
      Jess

      Like

  5. Caroline Halliwell November 24, 2010 at 12:42 pm Reply

    Wow, Jess, this is such a wonderful, heartwarming story. So glad you shared it.
    Caroline

    Like

    • Jessica Rosen November 24, 2010 at 3:42 pm Reply

      Thanks, Caroline. I’m glad you were touched by what happened, too. It felt too good to keep it to myself.

      Take care,
      Jess

      Like

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