Monday, January 17, 2011

Never Pass Up an Opportunity

Yesterday, my wife called me and said she was picking up the girls from the mall and was going to drop off a few of them at our house, pick me up, then drop the last one off before we headed on to our Catholic Parish. We usually go to five o'clock mass, in case you're wondering.

As was typical, we were going to be late by five minutes or so. Normally, I do the driving, but this time I let my wife drive. After we dropped off the last girl, we were on our way to church. However, right at the corner, before we turned right to go to our church, there was Jim. Before I explain what happened this Sunday, let me explain a little bit about Jim.

I met Jim one day over by our neighborhood Starbucks sitting on a bench. He is a big man who walks up and down this area of our neighborhood quite often. His hair is a mess and I do not think he has shaved his beard in quite some time. I think that when Jim receives a gift of cash from someone, he gets to eat that day. Jim, you see, is homeless. I've seen Jim with worn out clothes and shoes. Every now and then, he will have on a different coat or clothing. You see, he depends on the generosity of others for his day to day needs. He never bothers anyone. He doesn't ask for anything. You will never see him holding up a sign asking for money. Jim simply believes that God will take care of him. Believe it or not, he is a man of great faith. On this particular day, I walked up to Jim and asked him if I could give him some money. The first thing out of his mouth was "God Bless You." He wanted to know my name, so I told him. We had a brief chat that day. However, when I looked into Jim's eyes that day, I recall thinking that I was looking into the eyes of Jesus.

Luke 10:3 And turning to his disciples, he said: Blessed are the eyes that see the things which you see.

Usually, I go around with little or no money in my pocket. I cannot tell you how many times, I will see Jim and not have a dime on me. One day, when my wallet was empty, I went through a nearby ATM and got some cash and tried to find Jim again, but I just simply could not find him. He had walked away before I could find him. I was discouraged that day and was looking for another opportunity.

On this recent Sunday, I told my wife to stop so I could give Jim some more money. I rolled down the window and said to Jim, "Hi Jim. God Bless You" and handed him some money. Jim seemed a little surprised that I knew his name. He probably did not recognize or remember me, but that is perfectly alright with me.

I truly believe that this recent Sunday was one of those times when you are given an opportunity or choice to do something for someone else. You can either do something about it, or let the opportunity pass by. I often wonder how many times other people get this same opportunity and choose to pass right by Jim as if he was not there. I'm sure Jim is used to lots of people passing him by everyday. Yet, he never asks for anything. He relies solely on the generosity of others and his faith to get him through each day. He is grateful for those who help him. However, I can tell you that there is no greater feeling than doing something for others, no matter how small it may seem at the time.

Of course, while I was in mass, my thoughts and prayers were for Jim.

Someday soon, you will have an opportunity similar to mine. What will you do?