What Happens When a Child Meets a Beggar?
Do you look away when you pass homeless people on the street?
Or act busy, pretending in a hurry? Anything to avoid looking them in the eye?
Back in the day, I did all that.
I couldn’t look at their misery. I felt helpless — for not being able to do much for them — and guilty — for being in a much better condition than they were.
Now that I have a child, I can’t avoid beggars anymore. I guess only the childless afford to look away.
For the rest of us, an encounter with the unfortunate raises a lot of questions.
Like today, when my four-year-old started to wave at a beggar and invited him to eat strawberries with us.
An unexpected encounter at a farmers’ market
We came to buy veggies for autumn canning.
Matthew sidetracked us, insisting he was going to die if he wasn’t going to get strawberries for a snack.
So, my husband went with the groceries to our car, in the underground car park. And Matthew and I were sitting on a sidewalk, eating… strawberries.
The street in front of us was swarming with people when they all started to step aside, making room for something or someone.
Soon, my heart sank at the sight of a beggar without legs crawling on the street.
He was using a sort of skateboard to move around, pushing himself on his hands. Just a wide wooden board with four small wheels on the sides.
Also, he had a little girl — approximately two years old — with him, on that board. She was holding some white bread in her tiny hands and a pacifier in her mouth.
As I was hoping they’ll move along, I get to see Matthew, with his mouth full of strawberries, waving at them.
Oh, dear Lord.