Friday, August 15, 2008

Well this just ticks me off. Okay... sort of.

At the same time, it really just sort of makes me laugh. Hard.

~From Mosiah Chapter 4~

" will administer of your substance unto him that standeth in need; and ye will not suffer that the beggar putteth up his petition to you in vain, and turn him out to perish."

"17 Perhaps thou shalt say: The man has brought upon himself his misery; therefore I will stay my hand, and will not give unto him of my food, nor impart unto him of my substance that he may not suffer, for his punishments are just—"

"19 For behold, are we not all beggars? Do we not all depend upon the same Being, even God, for all the substance which we have, for both food and raiment, and for gold, and for silver, and for all the riches which we have of every kind?"

So, a few weeks ago, we'd gone out to dinner as a family, and were feeling quite blessed. As we got to the stoplight at the end of the exit ramp (heading home) there was a homeless man on the corner with a cardboard sign, saying he was a veteran, he was homeless and hungry, and would work for food. As we didn't have food to give him, (which is what we normally try to do, so the money doesn't get spent on alcohol or something.. I know, judgemental..) we decided to give him money. He looked like he hadn't had a shower for a long while, he had a long beard, and to make the scene even more tragic, he had a tracheotomy. Jerrod was feeling somewhat generous, so handed him a larger bill. (Well, more than a couple ones, and less than 20.) He thanked us through the hole in his neck, I teared up (I'm pregnant. I do that a lot.) and we were on our way. I wished we could do more for the guy, but drove away feeling good in a "offer up your substance for are we not all beggars" kind of way.

So fast forward. Jerrod was getting home from work one night, and saw a guy looking a lot like this same guy coming into our luxury gated apartment complex. (Not bragging, his company's paying for it, and apparently the apartment's advertising committee and I have differing views on luxury. But, they are still pretty nice, and cost more than what they're worth.) So he sees this guy coming in, and wonders if he's sneaking in or something. Then as he's talking to a couple guys in his office, he finds out that there is an apartment here where 4 of those guys are roommates. They pool their money together, and work the corner in shifts! Mr. Tracheotomy is one of them. They were telling Jerrod's co-workers that they're upset if they don't make 30 bucks an hour! (So, I guess if things don't work out with Jerrod's job, it's good to know we've got a fall-back. I bet with his winning smile, and rugged good looks, he could make more. Especially with women in their 40's-60's, they love him. But that's another blog post entirely.)

Half of me is thinking, "Grrr." The other half is laughing hysterically. I guess it's just my gullibility, and my tendency to think that everything is just as it's portrayed. I like to think the most innocent thoughts possible about everyone. Jerrod often laughs at me for doing this. (For example, he assures me that it's highly unlikely that ABC's Bachelors and Bachelorettes are just staying up all night eating Oreo's and playing Scrabble in the Fantasy Suites. I no longer know what to think, though come to think of it, I've never seen an Oreo package or a Scrabble board, but who knows what they can do with all this fancy schmancy video editing these days. I also have a hard time believing that married movie stars are kissing "for real" other people on screen. I always try to see how it's staged. After seeing some nasty tongue on screen while super sleuthing, I've had to concede on that one. Ga-RoSS!!) So anyway, I of course thought this poor man really was homeless. I felt so bad for him, I was wondering where the closest homeless shelter was, and if he'd really have enough for some meals, etc. etc. I am glad to find out however that he did indeed have somewhere to sleep that night. (Rolling eyes.) I just hadn't realized how close it would be to us, we could have given him a ride home.

So, what I've learned from this is that I'm far too gullible. So if anyone has some nice Arizona oceanfront, apparently I'm in the market.

I do feel that King Benjamin was on to something, and I would do the same thing over again. I know that in so many ways, I too am a beggar, and I'm grateful that the Lord sees fit to shower his mercies and blessings continually upon me. Truly.

But still.


Tara said...

Sorry to hear about that. I am the same way. I am always so reserved to hand out money to those guys. It's sad that some people just can't be trusted. I had Max at EIRMC. My first two were at Blackfoot and I would take EIRMC and the Dr. in Idaho Falls a hundred times over Blackfoot.

Leslie & Josh said...

You know some of those guys do that for a living and do such a good job that I've heard they can bring in up to a million or two a year. Now, that's just what I've heard.
Talk about wolf in sheeps clothing.

Jadie said...

"we could have given him a ride home"...LOL!! I read in the paper about a man who had a good job and an apartment, but every once in awhile, he'd grub down and panhandle. Weird. It definitely does make you wary of helping anyone, which is sad. Kudos to you for trying, though.

Andrea said...

Tenise, I love this post. I love that you reminded me of those words in the scriptures because over the years I have become the ever sceptic. I use to be just like you believing everyone-wanting to believe everyone that everyone is GOOD. And then somewhere along the way, I've kind of lost it, which makes me sad. It was good for me to be reminded that I too am a beggar and I wonder if, in the eyes of the Lord (probably not, because he is perfect)if he sees me like the person begging for money and going back to my "luxury apartment". Am I always giving back my 100% to Him. Do I ask for more than I give? That gave me a lot to think about so thanks.
But I have learned over the years, that many of these people do this for a living and are scaming people. Our newspaper here did an article on it. They are especially effective during the holiday season. I have personally witnessed people using their children in this--which breaks my heart.
Anyway, I don't mind giving food to these people (just in case they are legit), but as for my money, it goes straight to fast offering and the humanitarian aid through the church and I let it be dispersed that way.

Dore said...

Well said.