The past year has come with many financial hardships. I've been through hard times before, but none to the degree that I've experienced this year. I debated whether or not to share this story with the world, because- well, I always like it to look like I have it all together and everything is fine. I'm good at putting a smile on my face and masking the reality of life. Why tell it then? Well, tonight I went to the gas station. I could only afford to put $10 in my car, and pray I can get back and forth to work for a few days. If things don't go well next week, I really can't even afford that, but even so, I came across someone going through an even harder time than me.
While I was preparing to pump gas into my car, a stranger from the run-down, old car beside me approached me. "Maam," she said, "Is there any way you could help us? We have no money for gas, we are digging through our car looking for change, and just don't have enough."
My first instinct was to come up with a plan in my head, if this woman was going to do something to get my money, as I had my baby in the backseat. Then, I stopped, took a deep breath, and said to myself, "How many times have you been in her spot this year? How many times have you had to come up with excuses to cancel plans because you didn't have the gas money to even get across town? How many times have you been on empty and gone through the piggy banks for enough change to get 2 gallons of gas? How many times has someone shown you mercy or blessed you when you least expected it? Just because she doesn't look like you, and just because you were taught to be cautious of strangers asking for money, doesn't mean she isn't being honest. Even if it is a lie, what if you did this simple act of kindness, and put $10 in their car, too? You never know how you might impact someone's life."
I put $10 of gas into my tank, then I drove to the front of the store. I got my baby out and walked in and purchased a $10 gift card for them to use at the pump. I really couldn't afford the sacrifice it was going to be, but the thought that ran through my head was from a passage in the Bible I was taught as a child about doing unto the least of these, you never know when you may be entertaining an angel. I handed them the gift card, and the gentleman, in his dirty work uniform, thanked me. "I get paid on Thursday," he said. I told them I had been in their position several times myself, as a single mom of 4, and so I could understand. They said they had 4 kids, too. I granted them blessings before I drove off and said a prayer for them as I drove away.
What's my point in this? You don't have to be rich to have compassion on a fellow soul. You don't always know the circumstances behind someone's life. You can't judge someone by their appearance, masks are everywhere, and there are MANY hurting people out there- whether that be financially, emotionally, spiritually, physically. Sometimes $10 can bless someone as much as $1000. Sometimes, just being real, and letting others know that they aren't the only ones who are going through a tough time, may give them just what they need to go on.