And then Jesus Came and Asked me for Alms

Today was gross. Weather-wise, that is.  Cold, windy, rainy, snowing… yes, it snowed again today.  It was just “ick” weather, and and really dreaded going out in it, but James and I made our way out anyway to BJ’s to get the weekly shopping done.

We were a day off in our shopping, and, well, pregnancy and all that, so I decided that lunch was going to come in the form of McDonad’s.  Yep, quality nutrition there, folks, but I was jonesing for some chicken nuggets, and they were good.

BJ’s wasn’t far from Mickey D’s, so we sat in the parking lot, James sipping his Sprite, and me, finishing up my lunch, reeeeealy not wanting go out in that cold, wet weather.  Before I finished, however, I saw him.

As I’ve seen before, and I”m sure you have, too, I saw a man walk toward me with a cardboard sign. Homeless veteran, no food or money, you know the drill.  His face was weathered, teeth missing… and I met his eyes.

Looking around my car, I really had nothing to give him.  One would think that a van that carries a passel of children around town would have a bunch of snacks squirreled away, but I could think of nothing but the food I was eating.  I switched out the half eaten bbq sauce container for an unopened one, opened the door, and offered him what I had.  He refused at first, saying he didn’t want to take my lunch, but I insisted, and he graciously accepted it.  He thanked me several times, and disappeared.

Was he a con man?  I don’t know.  Maybe.  There are three churches of different denominations within walking distance of where we were, and I’m sure if he knocked on the door of any of them, they would take him in and find him help very quickly if he truly needed it.

But that’s just it.  I don’t know.   What I do know, is that for some reason, God gave me the grace to answer a stranger’s question of “will you help me?” without hesitation, giving him all I could, with a very impressionable almost-11 year-old boy watching the whole thing silently.

We went to Mass that evening, and I chuckled as I watched Lilly.  At 2 1/2, she’s prime for imitating, and quite often, she’s imitating me.  Arriving a little early for once, I settled in, knelt down, and must have bowed my head (in tiredness) because when I looked over, I saw her, too, kneeling on the kneeler, her blonde head barely making it to the top of the pew, hands clasped over the pew in front of her, head bowed, “deep” in prayer.

They watch us.  Oh, how they watch us.

It kills me whenever I hear biting remarks come from their mouths, directed at each other, and realize, they’ve first been at the receiving end of that tone from me.  Maybe its the eye roll they’ve gotten from me when I didn’t want to get up to help them, or my obvious lack of routine when it comes to doing my duties around the house.  Yes, they’re young and imperfect, too, but they’re like little accountability partners.  They’re going to pick up on everything I say, everything I do.  Apparently, God seems to think I need a lot of accountability around here!

Lent is now halfway over.  My personal resolution to stay off Facebook has, well, lets just say I fell off the bandwagon and got run over by the horses.  And I really haven’t been doing anything in terms of praying more, doing more sacrificing or spiritual reading.  In fact, I’ve joked recently that God makes sure you get your Lent whether you want it or not.  Hence, the 3 week stink of the stomach virus that I think we’re FINALLY getting over.

The one thing that I realized I haven’t paid much attention to was almsgiving, though. Dropping off extra junk for charity seems like such a cop-out.  I’m getting a clean house out of that, and loving every minute of it.  Giving where its uncomfortable?  That can be tough.  And I think that’s why Jesus asked me for the rest of my McNuggets today.

Here’s to a new start for the next three weeks.  If you’ve been doing well with your Lenten resolutions, I hope you continue to grow closer to God through them, and if you’ve been a slacker like me, well, the good news is, its not over yet. 🙂

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About Anne McD @ourlittlenthouse

Hey! I'm a stay at home, Catholic mom of 7, former homeschooler, now public schooler. Welcome to our crazy. Please excuse the noise.
This entry was posted in kids, Things I've Learned. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to And then Jesus Came and Asked me for Alms

  1. Stephanie says:

    Anne, I was just talking to Kent about this last night, complaining how I wanted this to be a really “good” Lent with more spiritual reading, more prayer, more sacrifice, etc. You are right. It is not too late to have a fruitful Lent. Here’s to three more weeks…you’ve given me a spiritual renewal this morning. Thanks! : )

  2. Helen says:

    Lovely, Anne! One Sunday we were outside of church (in DC) and a beggar approached and asked my dad for money. The pastor had asked that we not give money to beggars, but rather refer them to the rectory, lots of help available and all that, plus, apparently, lots of beggars are con artists. My dad gave this guy some money, and I mentioned how he could be a con artist. My dad said that he had no way of knowing that, and wasn’t it better to give. If the guy was a scammer, that wouldn’t be my dad’s problem, and my dad was not willing to turn away someone in need because he might be a scammer. Every time I see someone asking for money or food, holding those ratty cardboard signs, I think of my dad and look for my wallet. Kids are always watching….and learning. You are a good mom!

    • Its amazing the influence our dads have on us! My dad never challenged missionaries of other faiths that came to our door. He’d smile, tell them that he’s Catholic and not converting, but tell them he admired what they were doing and offered them a glass of water. I’m sure these interactions left the best impressions! 🙂 (and you’re a great mom, too!!)

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