You Know You See Me

My last post hit a chord with many readers, whose responses were so varied and so thoughtful that I think they deserve a post of their own. In fact, two posts. I also urge you to read John Kirkpatrick’s comment, which is at once too long to excerpt here and too good to miss. 

Here, excerpted and shortened, is a sampling of responses.

• I really like this.  The act.  The thought process.  The decision.  The commitment.

• Years ago, I stopped along Haight Street to give a man sitting on the sidewalk a dollar or two. As I walked on, another guy – passing me briskly – said: “All you’re doing is helping that brother stay drunk.” So much for my feelings of generosity. Instead, I started giving to the Haight Ashbury Food Program that served hot lunches.

• When I asked my friend, Linda, why she gives so frequently to folks in the street, she simply said, “Because you never know which one is Jesus.”

• This reminds me of a conversation I had with my sister a few years ago in Cape Town, where homeless people are a lot more prevalent and much more in your face with requests for money. For many of us, it’s a constant struggle how to act. The topic came up while my sister and I sipped a latte. “Imagine, if instead of handing that person some coins,” she said, “you bought them a latte – or better yet, you bought two lattes, one for them and one for you – and sat there and talked to them for 15 minutes.


James G. Blaine

About James G. Blaine

Most of us undervalue what seem our tiny contributions to our communities and the world. As a result, we feel powerless, even victimized. But, like the butterfly effect in science, the lives we lead with our families, in our communities, and at work – all the so-called little things we do – collectively change the world. As I grow older, my ambition grows more modest but not less important: to participate fully and to contribute what I can. That’s my goal with this blog.