Tuesday, February 19, 2013

She's So Cold...

She's so cold, she's so cold
I think she was born in a arctic zone
She's so cold she's so cold, cold, cold...

No, seriously, I wonder sometimes if part of my soul has frozen over.  Or gone on hiatus.

I stopped at the supermarket in my neighborhood on my way home from work just to pick up a Rx and a few other things.  When I came out of the store, there was a man wandering about the parking lot, who asked me for change.  He had no money for dinner or to get to the PADS shelter, though he had a friend who might be picking him up.  He had been at the local hospital (where my daughter also happened to be - awaiting a possible scleroderma diagnosis but that's a whole other story);  he  had a visitors badge on his coat.  He looked cold and had no hat.  So....anyway....I told him I didn't have any money - even though I did have a bunch of loose change in the bottom of my purse plus 40 dollars that I seriously needed to stretch to payday. (I wondered, too, if my daughter might need to borrow some cash in case she is discharged with a pricey Rx).  I'd like so much to make it to payday once in a while without an overdraft charge.

I told the man about the pooled funds that support various vouchers distributed by the police dept. in Lake Forest and told him to go there if his friend came to pick him up.  But I really feel like a shit about it.  He asked for some change and I said no.  And all I could think about on the way home are those stories of the saints where Christ appeared to them in the form of lepers or plague victims or whatever.  I could have given him something.  I was tempted for a minute to offer to drive him to the Lake Forest police dept. but I was overcome with an unusual (for me) wave of prudence.  I used to  be more giving.  I've invited people to live on our couch; I've driven random people to the emergency room when they've shown up in my driveway asking for a ride;  I've tried to 'put myself out there' for people.  And I'm shocked at how I've become so cold.

He was cold and hungry and I think he was 'legit'.  So I think I turned my back on our Lord in the form of sad, cold guy in Dominick's parking lot.  I am seriously wracked with guilt (though it gets my mind off of worrying about my daughter)  I was pleasant but so cold.  So heartless. Using my firm but pleasant - always with a smile - schtick about how we don't give out cash but we can direct a person to find assistance.   Have I become immune to this sort of plea from dealing with years of mendicants who show up at the parish office?  I have developed a pretty good feel for who is a scammer, who is a tweaking drug addict and who is legit. I think I failed in my duty as a Christian.  Then I turned on the car radio and the Stones were singing "She's So Cold."  As usual, the radio comes along with something to match the occasion. 

I finally called the local police non-emergency number to 'report' this man; repeatedly mentioning that I was concerned and not trying to file a complaint.  It was almost as if I were asking the dispatcher for some sort of absolution.  Some emotional rescue.

PS - any prayers for my daughter would be appreciated!!


William Luse said...

So what happened with your daughter?

If you're so cold, why is your conscience bothering you?

William Luse said...

I left a comment, but it didn't show up. What have you done with it?

Ellyn said...

Bill - I think the comments popped up simultaneously. Blogger keeps me on my toes - I almost miss the older, less easy-to-use format.

As for my daughter, she's waiting to see s rheumatologist. I'm kind of suffering along with her, makes any hand pains I have pale in comparison. I'll keep people posted.

As for my conscience, you make a good point. There must be a bit of warmth left inside, but the cold but caring facade bothers me. (I had to 'help' and then move along a person standing outside of church today. As a staff member, we're charged with introducing ourselves, sending people to the office for a voucher and telling them they can't beg on church property. Hard to cool and caring at the same time. Really hard.)

William Luse said...

Out of habit I tried to "like" your comment, but then remembered where I was.

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