Suppose I’m Wrong?


 

Suppose I’m Wrong?

 

By Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee

 

I saw something I’ve never seen before a couple days ago.  I have had it on my mind alot.  At night time when I’m in bed, I lie awake thinking about it.  Did I do wrong?  What should ‘I’ have done?  What would have been the right thing to do?

 

We were slowing down to stop at a service station to buy gas.  I saw in the distance on the left side of the road, a figure standing there… holding a sign.

 

I felt she was from the mobile home park she stood in front of.  I’ve never seen that before…. someone stand in front of their home to hold a sign out ‘to the world’.

 

I know this area well… ‘why’ would someone be standing there holding a sign?  This was a Friday evening, lots of traffic was passing this person by… they didn’t slow down even after reading the sign.

 

My reaction to it was mixed…. I didn’t trust it.  Was I wrong?  I didn’t feel right about it.  Am I a cold, mean person… did my heart not feel when it was ‘supposed to feel’?

 

The figure holding the sign (the sign was like 2 ft. x 2 ft.) was a heavy-set woman with short, brown hair.  She had on clean-looking clothes…. a hooded jacket, jeans, sneakers.  She looked like ‘everyone else’…..

 

She was standing in front of the trailer park she lived in (I watched her shortly after we stopped for gas… walk back to her trailer).  I sat and studied her, wondering if she was legit… did she really need the things she had put on the sign… or was she trying to collect money from passers-by … to have a fun Friday night?

 

God, am I sounding awful … for wondering?  Am I suspicious of people’s motives when I see them acting in an unusual way?  Am I just a mean, old woman?

 

I always try to sense people when I watch them… usually something about them will communicate to me (whether I see it or… not see it) …. if they are happy, sad, in distress, upset, tense.  We all do this this whether we realize it or not.

 

I didn’t sense anything about this woman holding her big sign… I only felt she looked very clean… maybe I wasn’t close enough to ‘see’ her… to know what kind of shape she was in.

 

She began walking around holding her sign up high to show the passing cars.  No one stopped… and I just sat there…. once I did think of walking across that road… to give her a few dollars.  I have done such in the past, both Skip and I have.  This time… something really didn’t ‘feel right’…. I couldn’t sense … ‘need’.

 

I watched her turn around, walk back down the dirt path into the trailer park, walk to her trailer, open the door, enter.  She disappeared from my sight only to… stay in my mind.

 

The woman didn’t seem to be ‘in need’.  I couldn’t feel it about her.  So, what does that mean?  I know I’m not perfect in determining who ‘needs’ anything.  I’ve needed things, no one ever knew… I never told them…. when I have let it be known… I was desperate.  You know….. pride… it’s hard to let others know when you have so much… pride.

 

Did this woman’s pride go away so, she could feed her pet/pets?  Did it go away so, she could feed herself?  Was she cold, needed heat badly?  Was her whole life in turmoil?  I couldn’t tell… I couldn’t ‘sense’ her by watching her.  I really cared… but, I could not ‘feel anything’…… ‘to pull me to her’.  Do you know what I mean?  Whatever it was about her…. it didn’t reach to my… heart.

 

I wonder if I misjudged her?  I wonder if I should have given her the last few dollars I had in my purse?  We’ve been through very hard times for the past month when Skip was in the hospital.  I was very afraid…. I only let one person know that I needed money for gas.  They came to my aid.

 

Always… Tommy was ‘there’ before… we were there for Tommy.  We have no one now.  Do you know how much it takes out of one … to ask for help?  Do you know how it feels for someone to instantly help you, never hesitating for a moment… to make your life ‘okay again’?  You never-ever forget them….

 

We surely aren’t rich by any means… we don’t pretend to be.  I never thought about using, carrying a sign to ‘broadcast to the world’ that I ‘need help… to please help me’.

 

I wondered ‘should I do that the next time?’  I know we all will have times like that in the uncertain future.  No… I don’t think I can carry a sign like that…. but, I also, can’t knock someone else for carrying one, either.  I think people know me well enough to know if I ask for help… it’s real… and I would never ask unless I were desperate.

 

So… getting back to the woman who stays in my mind….  this must be her way …to ask for help.  Or…. did she want to collect money to have a good weekend?  Who am I to say?  People can fool us these days… we can think they are good, and they are bad.  We can even think them bad… to find out that they are the good guys.

 

I think while I write I am studying why my reaction to her ‘feels empty’.  Why didn’t my heart go out to her?  It usually always goes out to people in need, it feels… it cares.

 

I just looked inside myself again….. I just ‘feel’ a sunny day and a woman walking along the side of a busy highway… carrying a sign saying……

 

HELP!  I NEED FOOD, I HAVE NO HEAT, AND I NEED PET FOOD….

 

Why didn’t it pull at my heart?  I sat there and ‘tried to make it ‘feel like’ it was pulling at my heart’.  I really would have walked over to that woman and have given her my last dollars… why didn’t I feel ‘need’ from her?

 

I’m asking you, my readers…. what are your thoughts on this?  Is there something I missed?  Do you ‘see’ something here in my words that I don’t…. to tell you ‘why’ my reaction to the woman with the sign ‘feels empty’?

 

It still does, by the way… even writing it all out, studying… looking inside.  Suppose I’m wrong?

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10 thoughts on “Suppose I’m Wrong?

  1. I don’t know what to say? I was raised in a poor family, but no one ever went hungry. Sure, we were forced to eat cow tongue and cream peas on toast (on more than one occasion), but at least we didn’t feel the pain of starvation.

    Over the years I’ve learned a lesson or three. One is to lead by example. I would have bought that woman a sandwich or something to stop the hunger pains (if only for an hour or two). As for her pets … I would have asked, “What type of pet do you have?” Silly I know, but I no longer give money, and not because it’s my last dollar, but because I have been tricked before. I would have bought her pet a small bag of no-name food. I’d then tell her that this will hold her off while she searches for a more stable home for her pet while she gets back on her feet.

    I’m far from heartless, but if she cannot afford to live, than she cannot afford a pet. She needs to let that pet go to a good home, and she needs to go to a shelter until she can get back on her feet. At a shelter, she could learn about all the resources that are out there, could focus on job share or education programs that will give her the tools she needs to live again.

    It is painfully hard to ask for help from family, and if she needed to reach out to strangers … I believe that either she exhausted her family resources or she doesn’t have a family to fall back on. Either way, a shelter would help teach her how to survive on her own. Sure, a sandwich and a bag of pet food doesn’t seem like much, but it’s better than pretending she wasn’t there.

    Do I think you’re heartless? Heck no! You pondered and assessed the situation, it seems to me that you my friend, you have been tricked a time or two, and it sounds as if you didn’t want to fall victim to yet another swindle.

    With much love and respect,
    Sass 🙂

    • Hi Sass,

      Thank you for your comment… I usually give even when I’m not sure…. and I think to myself that ‘when I gave, I gave from my heart’… and if that person is doing wrong then, it’s their problem because I did right.

      This time…. I didn’t act because I couldn’t ‘feel anything’…. I’ve thought about her ever since. Oh well….

      Your comment meant alot to me, thank you. :))) You showed me that there are lots of way to look at this. Granny Gee/Gloria I have been tricked in the past, you are right…. that’s okay, I felt good afterwards… I felt I did what I was supposed to. :)))

  2. I would feel the same way towards that sign.
    What does she want? People food? Money? Pet food? All of it? How much do I have to give her? Is she asking me to just give her everything? I don’t want to approach her. What if she gives me a accusing look because I do not give her ‘enough’. What if she crushes my kind intentions?

    Things might be different when I actually go up and talk to her. Hear her voice and watch how she responds. But the sign’s message is unclear and foreboding.

    • Tae, thank you for giving me your feelings on this. I thought all kinds of things… I looked for something I couldn’t feel. I always worry when I’m not sure if I should have done something, and didn’t. :))) Gloria/Granny Gee

  3. I think you have to go with what you really feel at the time. You are a caring person and I think you have to trust your instincts. I can’t make a judgement call just from reading the words…I’d have to see the person holding the sign and make the decision at that point.

    It’s hard to know. Quite often I give even if I’m not sure because I ‘just don’t know’…but if people are aggressive or like you I don’t ‘feel’ the need….I might not….Don’t second guess yourself as you did what you felt was right…remembering also that you didn’t have a lot to give at that time… Diane

    • Diane, I appreciate so much your opinion, comment. I didn’t have a lot to give, but… if I had just felt ‘need’ to go along with her sign… I would have given her my last dollar. :))) Gloria Oh well…….

  4. Gloria, I would have done the same thing … it all depend on the person – I think we have to follow our gut feeling. We can’t help everybody that is asking for money, even if it really rarely happens in Sweden. At least not in Landskrona, where I live.
    It’s a little like the story – the star fish thrower http://wp.me/p293Pw-3zB – it will make a difference for the ones we help, even if we can’t save them all.

    • Viveka, I loved the story of the star fish thrower. I will always think of that story when it comes time to help someone. I’d never heard it before… I appreciate knowing it ‘now’, I can apply it to my life now. That was beautiful. Thank you, Viveka. Gloria

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