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Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Charity

It’s never a question
of whether I’ll give.

I remember His words:
“that which you've done
to the least of these,
you do to me”
and with a grateful heart
I perform my Christian duty.

My policy is to offer
the bill on the outside
of my money clip,
regardless of denomination
(as I trust the Lord
and He will not leave me
penniless).

I try not to feel too good
about my modest act of charity.

Lately I've taken to
asking the recipient’s name
and telling them I would
pray for them,
presumably later.

As I hand them the money
and say “God bless you”
I shake their hand -
a token gesture of humanity
so it’s not just
about the money.

While the warmth of their
handshake is still in my palm,
I return to my car
where I keep a bottle
of hand sanitizer,
squirt a gelatinous glob of it
in my palm,
and furiously
rub away any germs.

I feel a pang
of guilt:

what are you so afraid of?

18 comments:

  1. That conclusion really should not send guilt.. but yet I can understand precisely why it does.

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    1. Just had it today - with a fellow named Derek, who I acted like I almost didn't see - shame on me. Thanks, Mosk

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  2. This is brilliant, Mosk. Really.

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    1. Thanks, Zenzy! Coming from you, that's high praise.

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  3. Well done, Sir.

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  4. Ooh, such a sting in the tail!

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    1. Thanks, yes God often has to sting me to get my attention.

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  5. Pow! This is me too--at least in metaphor! O dear! This perfect poem needs to be shared. Thank you!

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    1. Thanks for the pow! Rarely does my work elicit that!

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  6. Interesting. I am so fascinated by how people manage such encounters. At least for myself, I've had to really think about it and over the years have changed my reaction and my intention at different times. I like yours. OH and I like the poem, too :)

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    1. Thanks, yes, my reaction has changed too. Hopefully it keeps changing for the good.

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  7. it's all about motives of the heart... you pictures things so real

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    1. Thanks,the motive is very important. I figure, why be a Christian unless you live it.

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  8. oh...i could feel your disconnect from the beginning wrapped up with 'duty' and God's promise to YOU. These things are there, to be sure, but without love it is nothing. Wow, am I your LOVE cheerleader, or what these days?? That is my pet peeve to say "I'll pray for you," and then it never happens. Your 'presumably later' is perfect to capture that laisse faire attitude. You are a thinker, my friend. The real question is, do you love the least of these...which is always ourselves. I really like how you grapple with issues in your poetry, pottery (?). Chips and chinks are perfect for letting the light shine from the inside out.

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    1. Thank you for your kind words ... yes, I found myself doing that today - I told a toothless young lady named Lisa that I'd pray for her... I will get to it before I type another word.

      There's a prayer I wrote that I (try to) say everyday and it contains the couplet:

      "May I look upon my brother's face,
      not with contempt, but rather, grace."

      Yes, since Dr. Warren retired (my beloved Buddhist therapist) I have to write my own self-help book, one poem at a time! Cheers, Mosk

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  9. This so captures my feelings (except I'm Jewish!) You're more brave than I, however, with offering whatever is on the outside of your money clip. Just last week, someone asked me for money while I was on my way home with a $35 box of gourmet donuts. Wow, did I feel my privilege then!

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    1. A $35 box of doughnuts? What were they filled with gold bouillon? Seriously, I understand. I began being more generous with my money when I realized I would spend $5 on a Snapple and a pastry - mere junk food trifles - and here was someone asking for a buck for something to eat. I figured since I had so much, I couldn't justify being stingy. Thanks for your note.

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