Sunday, May 14, 2017

Why I'm mad at myself

So far this year, I've spent $300 on Cubs tickets.  $100 for a seat for the game I'm going to with John in June. $200 for two seats for the game I'm taking my nephew to in July.

And that's for the tickets alone. I'll spend more on hotdogs, beer, Cracker Jack, etc.

I am stunned by how expensive it is to go to The Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field. I get it, of course. My team is crazy popular* and it plays in one of the smaller parks. Intellectually understanding it doesn't mean I accept it emotionally, especially as I'm trying to economize.

And this is part of why I'm mad at myself over Friday. I stopped at the ATM for weekend cash. A woman approached me -- invading my space and making me uncomfortable -- and started to tell me about how little her job at Walgreens pays her.

"Ma'am," I said, cutting her off, "I've had a long week and I've got a train to catch. Here." I gave her the dollar I had in my pocket. I'd intended to add it to my transit card, but I figured it would help her more ... and make her get away from me.

She just stared at George Washington but didn't thank me. "If you don't want it, give it back," I snapped.

"I want it," she said, "but it's not enough."

"Then give it back," I repeated.

"Oh, I want it."

"Look, I didn't have to stop for you," I said, walking past her.

"Thank you, ma'am," she called after me.

"Finally!" I said, over my shoulder.

Look, I didn't have to stop for you. Oh, listen to me. I'm such a fucking saint because I broke my stride and acknowledged a fellow human being.

Did I have to cut her off and put the dollar in her hand? Maybe she wanted to be heard.

And haven't I just spent $300 on Cubs tickets? If I can afford that, why shouldn't I help the less fortunate?

I worry about my finances and my future. I hope if I'm ever in her position -- and I may well be -- I hope I meet someone who has a kinder heart than I did Friday.

I know that it's done. I know that I can't undo it. I know that many people wouldn't give her anything at all. And I know her aggressive approach and attitude added to the situation. All of this is true, and I can't change any of it.

But I can change my heart.

Someone once asked my what I "got" from being a believer, from being a Christian. Yes, I believe in Eternal Life and His unconditional love. But there's also this: I want to make choices that would make Christ happy. I didn't do that Friday. That's why the incident has been a constant discomfort, like a pebble in my shoe, ever since.

*Though my heroes aren't doing so well in the standings just now.


  1. I have limited experience with panhandlers. This interaction fascinates me. I don't know how I would have responded. My gut says you were right to cut the conversation short, especially since she was a space invader.

  2. Self examination is the way we grow into what we want to be, so this heartfelt post shows your willingness to be more Christlike because you are obviously a kind person.
    We do meet Him in everyone, He said. I think you're on your way there, as are we all.
    Be at Peace.


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