Don't We All

Sep 25, 2017

I was reading the Bulletin from Holy Name Cathedral in Chicago and the Rector published the following story.  He did not provide any indication of authorship. A web search showed a "Gregory ..." and another "jaydeebug."  


“I was parked in front of the mall wiping off my car. I had just come from the car wash and was waiting for my wife to get out of work. Coming my way from across the parking lot was a man. From the looks of him, he had no car, no home, no clean clothes, and no money. There are times when you feel generous but there are other times that you just don’t want to be bothered. This was one of those ‘don’t want to be bothered times.’ ‘I hope he doesn’t ask me for money,’ I thought. He didn’t.

 He came and sat on the curb in front of the bus stop but he didn’t look like he could have enough money to even ride the bus. After a few minutes he spoke. “That’s a very pretty car,” he said. He was ragged but he had an air of dignity around him. His scraggly blond beard kept more than his face warm. I said, ‘Thanks,’ and continued wiping off my car. He sat there quietly as I worked. The expected plea for money never came. As the silence between us widened something inside said, ‘Ask him if he needs any help.’ I was sure that he would say ‘yes’ but I held true to the inner voice. ‘Do you need any help?’ I asked. He answered in three simple but profound words that I shall never forget.

 We often look for wisdom in great men and women. We except it from those of higher learning and accomplishments. I expected nothing but an outstretched grimy hand. He spoke the three words that shook me. ‘Don’t we all?’ he said. I was feeling high and mighty, successful and important, until those three words hit me . . . . ‘Don’t we all?’ I needed help. Maybe not for bus fare or a place to sleep, but I needed help. I reached into my wallet and gave him not only enough for bus fare, but enough to get a warm meal and shelter for the day.

 Those three little words still ring true. No matter how much we have, no matter how much we have accomplished, we need help too. No matter how little we have, no matter how loaded we are with problems, even without money or a place to sleep, we can give help. Even if it’s just a compliment, we  can give that. We never know when we may see someone that appears to have it all. They are waiting on us to give them what they don’t have. A different perspective on life, a glimpse at something beautiful, a respite from daily chaos, that only we through a torn world can see. Maybe he was more than that. Maybe he was sent by a power that is great and wise, to minister to a soul too comfortable in themselves. Maybe God looked down, called an Angel, dressed him like a homeless person, then said, ‘Go minister to that man cleaning the car, that man needs help.’ Don’t we all?”