Country Woman Paints

a seeker, painter, photographer, writer and fragrant rose lover~


This is a little something I ran across in my morning reading. You might enjoy it too. Have a wonderful spring day!

April 2, 2014

A young couple decided to deal with their ambivalence about panhandlers by giving money to the first person who asked each day. They were sincerely attempting to work with their confusion around the issue of homelessness, but they had an agenda: they would be good, generous people and do their noble deed and then forget about their conflicted feelings for the rest of the day.

One morning a drunk asked the woman for money as she went into a store. Even though he was the first panhandler of the day, his presence disgusted her and she didn’t want to give him anything. When she came out of the store she hastily gave him a bill and rushed away. Walking to her car, she heard a voice calling,

“Ma’am, ma’am!” She turned and there was the drunk, who said, “I think you made a mistake! You gave me a five.”

The Places That Scare You: A Guide to Fearlessness in Difficult Times by Pema Chödrön, page 95


17 thoughts on “Generosity

  1. suzicate says:

    Ha, I’ll bet that made her think!


    1. ĽAdelaide says:

      Yes, I am sure it did!


  2. Mel says:

    Ha…made me think! But readings do that for me. Generouness comes with no agenda. Mighta been a priceless $5.


    1. ĽAdelaide says:

      I think so. Generosity is only that with no strings… i suppose that’s difficult when it comes to suspicions beneath the feelings of wanting to help.

      it struck me this morning and i’m glad you enjoyed it. xox and happy to see you tonight!


  3. rlte says:

    Interesting. One should never be judgmental. Thanks for sharing.


    1. ĽAdelaide says:

      i see you tonight and you’re NOT anon! How about that? I wonder what changed as I didn’t do it. 🙂 I’m glad you liked my offering. xox


  4. susancrow says:

    Oh dear, I’m not sure if I should tell you this one but your post reminded me of it. One time in Portland I was waiting for a city bus when a man came up to me saying he was in desperate need of the $20 bus fare to get home to his sick wife in Salem. I gave him the full amount. Not 30 seconds later somebody else came to the bus stop and he told the woman the same story. Slooooowly I turned… and told her not to give him any money. Then I told the guy he should at least have the common decency to beg at the next stop up the street until his most recent mark had gone.

    No, the incident didn’t stop me from giving money to homeless people. As your story indicates, there are many more who make us feel ‘there but for the Grace of God, go I’.


    1. ĽAdelaide says:

      Why not tell me about it? I think we’ve all had this happen to us! But we are reluctant to let it go, since we were made W R O N G about those we trusted. it’s the ‘trust’ issue i suspect that makes these instances difficult to deal with. in the end, we wonder if we should have trusted our own judgement. do you think? 😉

      I think your initial generosity was admirable. it’s sad that some are this desperate as you would think he would have thought to cover his butt! These days, the “homeless” i often suspect are not, but panhandling all over town is just abominable, no matter how it’s wrapped. I wish there was something to be done and i think in places with cold winters it’s taken care of simply with that but in my climate or the entire coast for that matter, it’s another matter. Ah well, there but for the grace of God… i suppose. and yes, i still give mine away too just not too quickly. i usually stick to women as i don’t want these men following me all over town as they seem to want to do at times… sighs. as do some of the women!!! 😉



  5. Mary says:

    You just never know and I have mixed feelings for sure. Happy Spring to you Linda!


    1. ĽAdelaide says:

      Happy spring, Mary. Hoping for your roses to be OK or that you can find a way to replant. Thanks for your comment!


  6. I give to beggars because you can’t possibly know their story. How did they come to be in their position? They can do whatever they want with a handout. After all……it’s a gift and that’s what counts.


    1. ĽAdelaide says:

      I agree with you. I thought this was a good little bit of wisdom. One never knows. Generosity is simply that without strings attached.


  7. Clanmother says:

    Homelessness and poverty are complex problems. It is easy to give away a small token to someone on the street; it is far harder to understand the underlying reasons. A thought-provoking post! 🙂


    1. ĽAdelaide says:

      Thanks so much for your thoughtful comment, Rebecca. It is a very complex problem we face today.



      1. Clanmother says:

        Indeed we do! That is why these dialogues are so very important. Thank you for you profound insight.


  8. What a great story! Chuckle… BTW, I love your new theme! 🙂


    1. ĽAdelaide says:

      Hey George, Thanks so much! And glad you like the new look too. 🙂


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