I made a friend today. His name is Zamal.
He likes his mediterranean combo platter with an eyebrow raising amount of Sriracha.
He had great news to tell me… He qualified for section 8 housing by the zoo and Social Security finally approved his disability application and will start providing him with monthly checks. It seems all of this will happen by the end of April.
He has a game plan. He is going to open a Chase account and put the money away and get out at most $50 a week for food. When asking about any friends that he might have, he said he’s usually alone. He doesn’t like being around people who only drink – they lead to trouble. <<<< wise man.
I am excited for him. I am glad that my $9.90 made him smile. I could tell he wanted to give me a hug but was nervous. If that’s the way he knows how to show gratitude, next time I just might let him (or whoever). I have to remind myself that I’m willing to hug random people I’ve never met in church, at school, on a boat all the time… just because I met him on the sidewalk that shouldn’t make a difference.
Before Dubai I was doing a great job of making a new friend a week and helping them smile through food or petty cash. I’ve learned it’s not what you do, but the fact that you’re ‘doing’ that matters.
Sometimes I do it because I want to help. Sometimes I do it to have a positive balance on my karma credit card. Sometimes I do it because I can be a selfish, self-centered person and this is a bucket of ice water on whatever ‘serious middle class American issue’ I’m facing at that time (right now it’s my identity and career!).
I made a friend today and he smiled. I hope to never see him again – standing on the corner at least. That would truly make me smile.
Give freely and spontaneously. Don’t have a stingy heart… There are always going to be poor and needy people among you. So I command you: Always be generous, open purse and hands, give to your neighbors in trouble, your poor and hurting neighbors.
Deuteronomy 15:10-11 (MSG)