Say, Lady, Can You Spare....?


Say, Lady, Can You Spare....?

This is something I wrote for my own blog and is a form of caregiving, I guess. I decided to post it here because I think things are going to get interesting with this woman. Life is so strange.

Throwing one arm up in the arm and calling across the street towards me the old, black woman pushing a walker with a built-in seat began crossing the busy street and calling me "Teresa". As she drew closer she realized I was not Teresa but she began declaring how much Teresa and I resembled each other. Seconds later she began her story of extreme woe and a time constraint of two hours. Could I give her a ride to Beaufort? She needed $37 in two hours to pay the remainder of her rent or she was going to be evicted. Lawd-a-mercy, she declared, life had been hard and she had a muscle removed from her right leg and was completely exhausted from the walk from her apartment to the Salvation Army where she saw me who she thought was Teresa but was not but I was obviously an angel meant to be in that exact place at that exact time. 

I never will know how many times I have been a sucker when responding to a plea for help. Once I commit I figure that is God's business. I am rarely approached when I am flush with cash. This day and this appeal came at a particularly challenging time, I looked out across the street, thought for a moment and, preferring to err on the side of grace, agreed to give this woman a ride using precious gas and time. The way I figured it if my life depended on 20 miles worth of gasoline I had no business hogging that resource. Share the little with someone less fortunate, I thought, and not with exhilaration but with an inward heavy sigh. Five minutes before or after and this meeting would not have taken place. 

I wondered if I was entertaining an angel and could see my crown in glory glitter a bit brighter. Shaking off that imagination I decided I was in the middle of a run of the mill response to a request for help, plain and simple. It did not help that my distraught passenger was extolling my angelic timing, my Christian willingness which she said was so in contrast to some of those lying so and so's in that church three blocks away, and I kept silent. Why subject her to the truth that most of the churches are loaded with one variety of so and so or the other?

My new friend sat in the passenger seat pointing out the open car window at the ground floor window of an apartment in what passes for the projects in our town.

"See," she said in a proud voice often employed when someone is proving what they have said to you. "I told you I don't have any money." I said I believed her without the proof. I told her I was going through financial difficulties myself and she found that hard to believe and I knew proving my lack of finances by taking her to where I live would not cut the mustard. I do live in a trailer park but the trailer is paid for and the rent I pay for the lot ensures me a small yard, lovely trees, neighbors with two or three cars in their driveways. The projects were the winner. She was holding all aces while I was holding all twos. Later I would take her home and she would insist that I come inside and she showed me the inside of her refrigerator with precious little food inside. Again saying, "I told you the truth!" I told her mine looked the same way and I was not lying. I did know that I had been gifted with the means to put food in my refrigerator while she obviously had not been so fortunate. 

From the first time I pulled into her parking space to the second time I pulled into the parking space I had given her the $37.00 and half of the rice bowl from Bojangles I had in my car and she had bought herself two pieces of chicken and a Pepsi. She asked the drive-thru person for hot sauce and salt and something else and said she was taking that food home and "mess it up". She was hungry and exhausted from walking to the Salvation Army with her walker only to believe I was Teresa but I was not Teresa but an angel of some sort and our meeting was meant to be and somewhere in the conversation, she mentioned a size of clothing she had worn at one time. I said, "Oh, that is my size." On the visit to her apartment to see her refrigerator she grabbed up several blouses and a sweater in the size I wear and pushed them at me. She thanked me again and asked for my phone number.

Next morning she called and wanted me to pick her up and take her to church with me. Later she called and asked me if I use to work at the base and I told her yes and she put a guy on the phone who turned out to be a friend of mine from work. I have not seen him in years. Once more my new friend began talking of how God had put us together and how everything works out and she was going to skip church today but would go next week and we hung up.

Later I called her and begged off going to see her this afternoon.  Being an angel is work intensive and takes a lot out of a girl. ( Just kidding!!)

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Lark, I've been in the same position at times and, well, often it seems that everyone is telling you not to help. You're a sucker and they'll take advantage of you and so on and so on. Sometimes that happens. Sometimes it's a gift for both of you. I try not to feel guilty when I have no money to give and no energy - truly no energy to do anything more at any moment. Thank you for being her angel!