Do you ever feel like one? A fraud, I mean? I was not going to write about this, but then I read this post on one of InterVarsity Press's blogs, and it reminded me . . .
I had a tremendously lovely day off yesterday. After being at Starbucks from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Tuesday (minus two hours when I drove to the small and annoying mall down the street because I just couldn't take it anymore), having worked a full shift and then sticking around for the world-famous meeting, I felt I deserved a day off. I would have lain in bed luxuriantly for hours, except that my body was so exhausted it couldn't actually rest, and woke me up at 7, and so I got up. I had breakfast. And coffee. And finished Harry Potter #3, which I then took back to the library.
After that I did what I have been waiting over a month to do, and have been prevented by weather and illness from doing: I went to Barnes and Noble to use the gift card my aunt had given me. I bought a piece of Cheesecake Factory cheesecake, and a cup of tea, and sat in a comfy chair in the cafe and read intermittently out of two books, trying to decide which one I was going to take home with me. (I ended up deciding on The Last Unicorn because it's way better than I remember it being when I was 11, and also because it was hardcover and beautiful and cost the same as the amount of my gift card.) I sat in there and read for about three hours, and had a slightly bizarre and interesting conversation with a person sitting in the comfy chair on the other side of my table (about which I may write some other time).
Also, I had a phone call from my friend Rebecca, whose mother is in town and who wanted to know if I would like to join the two of them for dinner.
I was feeling refreshed and content as I drove to the restaurant for dinner. Then I pulled off the highway. At the stoplight at the end of the exit ramp was a person with a sign. The kind of person it was is often derogatorily referred to as a "panhandler," and this particular person's sign made no bones of the fact that he or she was there for a hand-out. I said "he or she" because I don't actually know the gender of this person--not because it was unclear, but because I was trying very hard not to make eye-contact.
Which is ironic, since "Twenty-First Time" had, just sixty seconds before, been playing on the radio (you can listen to it if you follow the link). I sat in my car, at a very long red light, trying to justify to myself the fact that I was not going to roll down my window and hand over the $5 worth of change I had in my wallet. We all know the arguments for keeping the window up, so I will not enumerate them here.
Then I thought, "Well, if I had something else to give them . . . but I don't." I did, however, have a warm car, and it was quite literally freezing outside. Also, I had just spent the afternoon somewhat decadently, and I was about to go have dinner at a restaurant. I had a momentary flash of inspiration. What if I brought this person to dinner?
Well? What if I did?
But I didn't, of course. Social convention and all that. I had never met Rebecca's mom before. I didn't expect her to treat this person, but what if she wasn't, you know, cool with picking people up off the streets? It would certainly change dynamics. Plus, I'm a woman, alone, in my car.
These are all considerations, certainly. But sometimes I wonder if Jesus thinks they're kind of lame. At least, maybe in some circumstances they're kind of lame. I don't know what I should have done, but I'm pretty sure that in that particular instance, at least, "nothing" was not it.
That's what I did though. It bothered me enough that today, on the way home from work, I gave my wad of change to the guy standing in the median strip at the five-way stop. Even though, you know, he was probably going to use it for drugs or something. That's what they tell us . . .
But, as Zimmer-Man reminds us, someone else said, "Go and do likewise." So . . . what exactly is "likewise"?