We see him every time we leave the house, hunched beneath bags and blankets in the winter, or riding his bike against traffic, trying to catch a breeze in the summer heat.
I want to bring him a coffee or a water or a blanket or a fan, but I never do.
Braving Christmas errands this weekend with the kids, I lost count of how many times we saw the ever-present bell ringers of the holiday season, collecting money for the Salvation Army.
I echoed Merry Christmas to the freezing volunteers but with full hands, my spare change never met their buckets.
I told myself I would catch them on the way out, but I never did.
Driving home, frazzled from long lines, full parking lots and empty shelves, I found myself stuck in the slowing traffic of our two lane road to home, my patience dwindling with each tap of the brakes.
To add to my simmering annoyance, someone cut in front of me, coming to nearly a complete stop before he decided to pull off the road.
The current recipient of a massive amount of muttering under my breath, got out and walked up to the familiar homeless man (who I had not even noticed in my fury) and handed him the money in his wallet.
Looking back at my windshield through blurry eyes I was furious. At myself.
Sometimes the bitterness I feel for the hand I have been dealt, clouds my view of others who have been dealt a hand with a card or two less.
I was reminded today that I need to slow down, help when I know I should and give when I know I can.
If you need me I will be rehearsing the art of removing money from my purse with my foot, so I can drop some in that little red bucket next time I pass a bell-ringer and my hands are full
… after I find my favorite homeless man and invite him over for Christmas dinner.
What do you do during the holidays to stay focused on the real reason for the season?
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