Saturday, June 12, 2004


"And you shall know the TRUTH, and the TRUTH shall make you free."

                              - Jesus Christ.....His words from the Gospel of John 8:32 in the Bible.

MSN 8 with e-mail virus protection service: 2 months FREE*

Saturday, June 05, 2004

One Summer Day

Came across this piece, thought I would share it. Sort of challenging uh!

It's fairly late in the afternoon, and I need to run an errand. I'm going to
Wal-Mart, that retail bastion so loved by some and so hated by others. John
Kerry calls it "disgraceful" and "unconscionable" while the VP has
campaigned there. It sucks when even our shopping stores become politicized.
Anyway, to get back on track, I'm headed to Wal-Mart on a simple errand. As
I pull up a middle-aged man in average clothes appears to be approaching my
car and asking me to stop. Surely, I think to myself, he's not trying to
approach me as I'm driving to a parking space. I'm a bit startled,
especially with the odd way he's trying to stop me. After all, I'm not
really in the best part of town.

Being on "the bad side of town" is something that most of my friends will
note when we're there, yet it hardly crosses my mind or matters to me. In
fact, given the choice between plush Carmel or one of Indy's seedier
shopping districts, I'd choose the latter. I like to smile at people, and
the shoppers at supposedly "bad" sides of town often have this warm,
genuine, no-strings-attached smile in return.

So back to this fellow approaching my moving car. I convince myself that
he's actually motioning to someone behind me and I proceed to park the car.
Almost immediately he's there, standing right next to my door and
essentially blocking my departure from the car. "Sir," he says in a gasping
voice, "I really hope I didn't scare you, but my wife and I are stranded and
we're out of gas." Sure enough, there in his coarsened left hand is a three
gallon empty gas container.

I've heard this story before; many times before in fact. Sometimes they have
kids, sometimes just a wife, but the story always involves a sorry family
that needs my money, immediately, or their stranded existence will forever
be tied to the side of a road somewhere. I'm sounding cynical, but I don't
usually react that way to people asking for me money. In particular a Bible
verse has been weighing on my heart lately that reads like this: "So God
created man in his own image. . . " (Gen. 1:27). That verse is monumental in
significance. It's hard to ignore a fellow human when you view them as being
made in the image of God. In a similar vein Jesus tells us, through a
parable, "whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine,
you did for me." (Mt. 25:40). There are countless more, and the message is
clear. Besides, few feelings are better than helping another.

But, in the case at hand, am I helping him? Or is it just a ruse like so
many others? After all, it's a story you'll often hear at interstate rest
areas. And even if he is poor and needs the money for food, I don't want to
reward dishonesty. As I always do, though, I reach for my pocket and pull
out whatever cash I happen to be carrying. There's only a dollar. I almost
always give money to those who ask, in spite of my own precarious financial
situation, and I can't think of any reason to deviate from that policy now.

I look at the one dollar bill, and then into his eyes. I can see a flood of
emotions there, and in my own mind I decide it's probably likely that he's
lying to me. After all, I don't see his car or wife anywhere around. Still,
I hand him the dollar and embrace him. That's right, I hug him. I say to
myself that if he wants this dollar he'll have to hug me for it. He seems
surprised, but gladly takes the dollar and we part ways.

I go into the store and get my thank you cards I came to purchase. As I
exit, I see the man still lingering, sort of sitting down on his heels in
the parking lot. But he's lingering near my car and now I'm not annoyed;
instead I'm frightened. Isn't this the sort of setup typical for a robbery
or even something worse? I trudge on to my car and approach him directly.
Once he notices me he slowly rises to his feet. Then I stop dead in my
tracks. He's crying! What on earth is he crying for? I'm cautious, and
slowly walk forward. Then he hands me the dollar bill and walks away. Just
like that, he's gone.

I'm not sure what happened to that man or what was going through his mind. I
guess I'll never know. I hope he found what he was looking for.

Posted by Joshua Claybourn at June 4, 2004 01:21 AM | TrackBack

Outgoing mail is certified Virus Free.
Checked by AVG anti-virus system (
Version: 6.0.692 / Virus Database: 453 - Release Date: 5/28/2004