Sometimes, I Can’t Help But Be Disappointed In Me

Recycling Bin
Image by Canton Public Library (MI) via Flickr

Some time last week, I finally took all the aluminum cans, plastic bottles and glass bottles in our home to get money from the recyclers.

As I was loading up my plastic bottles in their container to have it weighed, an old Hispanic man came rolling up with his shopping cart. At the recycling center (more like a trailer behind Ralph’s) there’s a sign that clearly states “Anyone who uses a shopping cart as transportation for recyclables will not receive service.”

But the guy running the recycling center that day helped him organize the old man’s recyclables. It became apparent that either the old man couldn’t speak English or had a hard time hearing. Or both. But he had a lot of recyclables. And it also looked like he got a lot of those by fishing them out of trash cans.

I started to feel that warming sensation within my heart to go do something. Talk to him. Help him separate and load up his things to the recycling bins. Something. Anything.

But I kept on focusing on my recyclables. After all the weighing, I received the receipt to go get my cash (just shy of $10) inside Ralph’s grocery store.
Then there was that voice again.
Give the receipt to the old man. Give him a little extra for whatever. He just might find it more useful than you.

So there I was, wrestling with what to do next. It didn’t have anything to do with parting with the money, but how to do it. Do I just walk over and hand him my receipt and say something like “have a nice day”?
Am I assuming too much?
What if I offend him?
What if he isn’t homeless?
What if he takes my receipt and goes into Ralph’s and can’t cash it? (If you have more than $10 coming to you, they need ID, and my receipt had my name on it.)
Do I just hand it to him?
Should I get the guy that works here to hand it to him?

All the while wrestling with these questions, I found myself walking towards Ralph.
As I was standing in line to have the cashier give me my cash, I started thinking,
I should just take the cash and hand it to him.
But would that be offensive?
I mean, seriously, what if he wasn’t homeless or something, and I totally just assumed, making an ass out of myself and him?

Yet, something in my heart told me the right thing to do, at that moment,would be to walk back to the man and hand him the money.
Everything in my heart felt that was the right move.

But… for some reason, my body wasn’t following my heart.
I just got in my car and drove away.
The whole time I’m thinking, “What the heck? Why am I driving away?”

I know it’s not much, but it bothers me that I couldn’t follow through with something that felt was so right in my heart.
Why was I so hesitant?
What was I afraid of?
What was wrong with me?

Honestly, it’s been eating at me. And I still can see grandpa’s face and how he was trying to get all his bottles and cans separated. A friendly hello, a “need a hand?”… I felt like I should’ve done something, anything… yet, I had all the thoughts of doing so, but never acted upon it.

This isn’t the first time something like this happened to me. I’m saddened to say that this may not be the last either. But maybe, the way this has been eating at me, I’ll learn to be more obedient to that burning voice in my heart at times like this.


2 thoughts on “Sometimes, I Can’t Help But Be Disappointed In Me

  1. Okay Joseph, instead of it being you, one of your parishoners comes up to you and tells you the above story. He/she ends with “Pastor, what should i ‘have done/do next time’? “I don’t know” isn’t an option… Your answer to them is GOD’s answer to you. Peace.

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