Writing 101; A Character-Building Exercise

I hardly have the opportunity to go shopping for clothes. We live thirty miles away from a good-sized city, and I just get so busy, that traveling to go shopping isn’t appealing to me. I don’t think I have bought a new pair of jeans for years.

My son started taking some night classes in this nearby town where there are shopping malls. One evening, I rode along with him, and took the truck to go look for some new clothes. I wasn’t having much luck. The cost of clothing always turns me away from buying things. I tried on some pretty items, and it was fun modeling some of the clothes I wished I could buy.

I thought it might be nice to get something to eat at the fast food place near where I parked. Instead, I went to a discount clothing store to see if the prices would be more reasonable.

In front of the store, a man was standing near a shopping cart. He stopped me to see if I knew where the shopping cart belonged. He said he found it behind the building.

He was as thin as a rail, and I don’t think I ever saw some one with skinnier legs.They were toothpick thin! He was wearing jeans, a long sleeved shirt, and jacket, along with a baseball cap, probably everything he owned. He was maybe just past sixty-years-old. I could tell that he wasn’t at the store to shop. He wasn’t dirty or smelly, but the boots on his feet were well worn.

I remembered seeing the name of the store that was on the shopping cart, across the street, quite a distance away. I told him where I thought it went.

In a quiet, but raspy voice, he asked if I had a couple dollars. I looked at the man, examining his intentions, trying to read the situation. I knew this man needed something to eat. He was super thin and frail. He asked for the money with embarrassment, like a handout wasn’t really what he wanted, it was what he needed.

I asked if I gave him five dollars, what would he do with it?

He said he wasn’t going to lie. He would buy a couple beers, go behind the store, and go to bed.

I told him I didn’t like the thought of buying him alcohol, but didn’t want to see him hurting either, and gave him the $5.

I said that he should buy a cheap hamburger at that fast food place, and he’d probably still have enough for a beer, though that wasn’t at all what I wanted to buy for him. That five dollars was all I had in cash.

I asked him what his name was. He replied that it was “Daniel”, the same as my son’s name. I asked him about what he was going to do for the winter? He said he knew of a group of homeless people who were going north.– He’d probably go with them.

I took pity on this man.  He could have been my dad, my brother, my son, and I wanted to help. I asked if he knew Jesus, and he said he did. He said the Lord used a lady to buy him a pair of jeans the other day, and he sees the Lord’s hand in so many people who have helped him. A tear came to his eye. He wiped the moistness away.

I heard about a new mission for the homeless, and told him where it was. I was hoping that this man wouldn’t have to make it through the winter months in the outdoor elements. He kissed my hand and thanked me for the five dollars, and told me that I was a beautiful person.

That man gave more to me, than I did to him. His kindness and love were so visible in his face. I didn’t know what else to do. I said a prayer for him, and we said goodbye. It was getting darker, and I was alone. Shopping didn’t seem as fun anymore. Daniel stayed on my mind throughout the evening.

This homeless man made an impression on me. I don’t want to lose compassion. At my age, so many people have taken advantage of my help and kindness, but this man was honest, sincere, and appreciative.

It is my prayer that God will use me as an instrument of His love and good will to all. With winter fast approaching, and more and more people out of work, there will be many asking for help.

I always think of a Bible verse, Hebrews 13:Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.

I think of another verse too, because I don’t have much to give monetarily:  Matthew 10:8 Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.

God has given us the ability to help others with the gifts he freely gave us. It doesn’t take money to say a prayer, speak kind words, and encourage someone. It is my hope that God will give me wisdom and knowledge in helping people who truly need help. Daniel is a reminder to me that the world is hurting, and we need to be God’s ambassadors in a mighty way. We need to be ready to give an answer for the faith we have, and for what we believe. What we believe needs to be put into action.

I need to build up my faith, so I can share it.


7 thoughts on “Writing 101; A Character-Building Exercise

  1. A challenging post – I do not like giving money most of the time because I know it will be used for alcohol or drugs. I know we are commanded to be compassionate but I don’t want to enable addiction…I continue to pray for God’s leading on this…
    On the technical side, watch your spelling and grammar. In your title, the correct spelling is “Exercise”. I know this sounds petty but misspelled words cause me to focus on details on not on actual content and message. In your 5th paragraph, the second sentence is a little long and confusing. Here is a smoother alternative. “My second stop was a discount clothing store.” The part you add about the nearby Wendy’s is not really relevant here. I know you are setting up the suggestion that the man go to Wendy’s but you do not need to. I only offer these as my comments for improvement, hope it is a bit helpful and if not just disregard!!!


    • Thanks so much for pointing out the errors that distract from the story, and the good advice. I am going to edit the title right now.
      I definitely do not like to buy alcohol for anyone, but that evening, I was compelled to give money to this man. That still small voice was telling me to give. I can’t explain it.


  2. I really liked your story a lot! I really wasn’t focusing on errors when I read this, maybe because I felt the message was so good that “writing” errors were irrevalent, or maybe because I have been reading and commenting/suggesting on posts all day and I am bone-tired. 🙂


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