Each of us have passed panhandlers on the sidewalks and byways of our cities. Our attitude toward them may be as diverse as the millions of snowflakes or stars in the sky. Whatever our emotions, most of these individuals don’t choose to be there. Yes, there are some that have made panhandling their career. While residing in Ft. Worth, TX, there were several articles about the panhandlers and how lucrative the “business” was for some, touting of earning over $100,000.00 per year. They knew the times and the areas which provided the greatest benefit.
As two of my fellow volunteers and I had been discussing giving to those standing on our street corners, one of my friends shared about a lovely “gift” which she gives. She fills a handbag with some essentials, water and money for those she believes can benefit. For many of us whom have offered our “hand up” to these persons, there have been some disappointing experiences. Her gesture of kindness truly allows the recipient to know she cares.
Some seeking help may feel they have no other options. I recalled my own personal experience in 2004. As I awakened on a Sunday morning looking forward to the celebration of our 35th wedding anniversary, I was taken aback when my greeting; a card was literally “tossed” toward me. It was given with the comment of “there is no gift for you, as I didn’t feel like getting you one.” The tears stung my eyes as they meshed with my mascara. I was numb. What caused this display of anger?
My then husband, Charles and I went to church and continued through our day in silence. My pleas for an understanding fell upon deaf ears. As Charles had done countless times in our marriage, when he was angry, one of his forms of abuse was complete lack of communication with me. If I had a query, it was ignored. If I greeted him, there was no reply. If I attempted to show affection, it was rebuffed. This scenario had been played in our home dozens of times over the past 35 years. Nonetheless, it didn’t stop me from my deep love for him and it certainly didn’t deter me in trying to make things better.
The following morning, I telephoned our pastor. I had counseled with him prior about the sorrow of my marriage, but this time was different. He cited I needed some space from Charles; not necessarily a divorce, but a place to reside until Charles’ anger subsided. When Charles learned of my plans, his actions were as they had been since our first year of marriage; unless I did what he mandated, he “cut me off” from all financial assistance.
I was employed as a part-time consulting dietitian, but my income was small and would never provide even the necessities. I was married to an executive of a large public accounting firm earning a very comfortable salary. I had been his wife for 35 years, but now that our pastor was advising I seek an apartment as a reprieve from the abuse of our marriage, Charles had chosen again to “make me pay” (which were always his words when I did anything he disagreed with). Countless times, I watched his fist pound the counter, as said, “you will live to regret this, and I will make you pay.” To be continued-Ephesians 4:2-3 NKJ, “with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace.”