Our friend lives in NYC and before we moved, one thing he shared about city life is that it daily forces you out of your comfort zone because the world’s needs are so apparent as soon as you walk out of your front door. I never fully connected with this statement until we moved. There are 14 million people here in this great city. Young and old, big and small, tons of smokers and some non-smokers, women with their heads covered and many uncovered, and the list goes on and on.
I love people watching, but the saddest part of city life is seeing so many beggars on the street. When the weather is nice (and sometimes when it is not) there are certain to be about 3 different families of beggars that can be found just on our street. There are refugees everywhere, families who have fled from their war-torn country. They sit on the cold concrete with their children and beg for money. It breaks my heart to see children sitting with their parents. Sometimes they even sit in the rain on cardboard boxes waiting for people to toss coins at their feet.
On any given day, we could pass about 10-15 beggars. When we walk, I am tempted to ignore these sad souls because the need is overwhelming, endless, and sometimes inconvenient. But then the Lord reminds me, what if that was me sitting on the street with my kids? Wouldn’t I hope that someone would have mercy and stop for us? Mothers sit with their nursing babes, toddlers wiggling around at their feet, their elementary age kids sit there too sometimes (but often elementary age school kids can be seen begging alone)…just sitting, for hours, day after day.
The Lord often reminds me not to harden my heart and ignore these needy souls. Sometimes we give them snacks, juice, or money. Their eyes are haunting, filled with pain. They very rarely thank you, instead when you give them something, they usually ask for more. It is as horribly sad as it sounds.
I have grown to be thankful for these opportunities for my homeschooled kids to see a new perspective of the world…
desperately in need of our Savior.
I love that as a family we almost daily have opportunities to offer (very) simple compassion to those in need. I pray that these souls will find our Savior one day.