Dear Generous Readers,

How do you respond when a homeless person with a makeshift cardboard box asks for money? Do you look away? Do you change the radio station? Do you check your text? Do you ignore? Do you judge? Do you respond? How do you respond… with a compassionate heart or a critical heart?

Over the weekend, Gabriel and I exited the grocery store. There was a lady in the parking lot with a makeshift cardboard box asking for money. Her children sat at her feet with despondent faces. She said, “Excuse me, can you please…” And I kept walking and pushing my grocery cart. But it didn’t feel right. I felt uneasy and uncomfortable. My guidance was telling me to respond. My analytical side was saying you are generous and you constantly give. Hmm. The tug of the heart and the mind. The tug of the spirit and ego. Who won?

In that quick moment, my confirmation came so clearly through the body language of my son, Gabriel. I saw out of the corner of my eye… Gabriel’s head turned backwards to observe the woman and her children. And I knew! The nudge, the prompting was there. I asked, “Gabriel, do you think that we should give some money to that lady and her children?” I asked, but I already knew the answer. Gabriel shared, “Yes mom.” I opened my wallet. I had a number in my mind to give but Gabriel had a number in his heart to give. He said, “Let’s give her twenty.” I handed Gabriel the bill and asked him to hand it to her as I loaded the bags into my car.

He came back thrilled. “Mom, she was so grateful. She thought it was a dollar. But then she glanced down and saw the amount. She screamed mom. She was so excited.” I questioned, “What did you say?” Gabriel expressed, “I said may this bless you and your family. It feels so good to give. I feel really good inside.

See it isn’t about the dollar amount. It’s a heart issue. The heart beat the mind! The spirit won over the ego! There was no judgment. There was pure, unaltered compassion from one to another. Beautiful!

How do you respond when someone asks you for money?

Do you lead with your heart or your mind?

Do you lead with love or fear?

Do you look that person in the eye or look away?

That person is you. It’s me. It’s Gabriel. We are all one. Totally interconnected and interdependent. I expounded, “We all need help and support sometimes.” It’s laying our pride down to allow humility to usher in. I’ve been there. I received help after Hurricane Katrina. I used food stamps. I needed help with Gabriel’s surgery.

Remember, we all stand equally one. We aren’t strangers but kindred spirits with a heart of love, grace, and mercy.

Follow your heart. Let your light shine brightly!