Act of Charity
He was huddled in the small sliver of shade afforded in the wide strip of concrete on Broad St, a slight overhang from a stern office building that protruded by a foot or two over a curb. He wore a faded blue shirt, and tattered pants. His hair was wild and gnarled, and dirt rimed his face, arms, and hands. In the summer homeless people go much longer without bathing - when the weather is colder they will check into shelters more often to find warmth, and a shower. In the heat of late July though, there's no need. His eyes were wide, and almost yellow in color. His speech was slurred as he mumbled at people "Spare change for food? Spare change for food?" as they passed.
I looked away. But I saw a nun cross the sidewalk, searching in her purse. She wore a skirt and shirt and wimple, and thick glasses. She was middle-aged, but obviously also fit and healthy. In each hand she carried a plastic grocery bag, and tucked under her right arm was her purse. From her purse she pulled a can of Sprite, which she reached out and handed to the man. She said something, though I didn't hear what. He accepted it with a puzzled look on his face.
As I walked past, I thought about how giving him a can of soda deflated all the own internal constructions I have for not giving money to panhandlers. Did she carry extra soda or food, just to hand to people on the streets?
Lastly, I thought - this world isn't so bad after all.