“I never look at the masses as my responsibility. I look at the individual. I can love only one person at a time. I can feed only one person at a time. Just one, one, one.” – Mother Teresa
After dropping off the girls who are part of the Sunday lacrosse practice carpool, Chandler wanted to pick up lunch. She chose El Pollo Loco. As we were turning into the shopping complex where it is located Chandler said to me; “Mom…we need to get him a quesadilla…”
We need to get him a quesadilla, the words are hanging in the air as I pull into the drive thru.
“Mom, did you see him? He’s hungry….”
Actually I had not noticed him. I was driving. Lost in thought. Paying attention to the road.
“No Chan, I didn’t see him. Are you sure he was hungry?”
“Yes!…He had a sign that said he was hungry.”
I look at her as we pull up to the microphone. Her eyes are pleading. She points past the hedges and explains where he is. I order lunch for us and lunch for the man. The cashier packages the man’s lunch in a separate bag. He includes napkins and salsa. We drive out of the parking lot and head back toward where the man is.
He is standing on the divider closest to the driver. The light is green. I extend my arm and he notices me coming…he reaches toward me and as the car is next to him, we touch for a split second, then the bag is in his hand. He yells: THANK YOU! I watch him in the side mirror as I turn left through the light. He is looking back at us and his free hand extends over his head in a wave….
“No…thank you Chandler. You have always had an enormous heart for people who are hungry…I love that about you.”
In the quiet that returns to the car as she begins to eat her burrito, I think of a time years ago when she insisted we buy a bag of groceries for a man and his children. The look of appreciation on the mans face as she handed him the bag has stayed with me. There was another time when we purchased a Subway Sandwich gift card for a woman and her children, only to find her in the midst of being arrested when we walked out of the restaurant, Chandler was devastated.
It’s November, a month when families gather, give thanks and eat. I think of the man, where will he be on Thanksgiving? So often we close ourselves off, we don’t make eye contact, we ignore.
Today I am grateful for my daughter, she reminds me to see. She reminds me to act. She reminds me that everyone needs compassion. She reminds me that really what we have is love.