Dinner Followed by Guilt

I had dinner with the extended family.  The table was creaking and groaning with all the food that someone ordered.  It was way too much even and we had 2 tables.  The food was excellent.  I had a lot of duck, noodles, chicken, pork and fried rice.  I stopped eating partway through dinner.  It was simply too much food.  On the way home, I heard my car straining to move.  It might have been the air conditioner but I swore the car was leaning a bit too much on my side.  When I got near my place, the gas light in my car lit up.  Perfect.  I gorged tonight and now my car also wants to be fed.

When I was filling up my car, I noticed a woman sitting by the door of the gas station asking for change.  Normally pan handlers would also come to those at the gas bar but she wasn’t moving.  3 lovely teen aged girls walked by her and didn’t even acknowledge her.  The panhandler gazed at them and brushed her hair back.  Perhaps she thought years ago she looked beautiful like they did.  When I finished filling my car, I walked over and gave her a bit of change.  She thanked me and smiled.

I got back in my car and watched as she stood up.  Her legs were so skinny, it was really flesh wrapped around her bones.  She struggled to walk.  My meal that was so satisfying earlier now felt like a huge ball of guilt.  She’ll never know what it feels like to have a full stomach.

Maybe I’ve forgotten how fortunate I am.

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8 thoughts on “Dinner Followed by Guilt

  1. Oh Mattie, this is so sad. How sad that those girls didn’t bother to give her any change… and your observation that she must have thought of her own youth, was poignant. I am so glad you gave her the change.
    Many years ago, I had taken Sayeed to San Francisco, and we were walking down near the Pier 49, and there was a mime who was performing on a sidewalk. he was good, and people were throwing coins and dollar bills on the sheet on which he stood. Sayeed just stood there transfixed and loved it. I took out a larger bill and gave to Sayeed to go put it under the hat, but the mime indicated to him to just throw it on the sheet which Sayeed did. We stood there for some more time, and the crowd started dispersing. the mime came up to us and with folded hands thanked us and said, “you made my day!” I had never seen a mime break his routine. Sayeed was so happy. Little generosities make such a difference in people’s lives.
    I am so happy you had such a good meal with the family. Matt, I am going to India on Sunday for my grand niece’s wedding, and I am dreading the food. I have purposely lost about 10 lbs so that I could do justice to the loaded tables of food. Groan!

  2. I’m always glad I grew up relatively poor. It made me appreciate the things I have. I always try to at least acknowledge homeless people by looking at them in the eye even if I can’t always help with money. Glad you helped that lady.

    • I didn’t know that about you. I’m trying to remember if you ever wrote about it in your blog. I won’t mind hearing more about what it was like for you growing up. If we ever get together?

  3. Thank you for being giving and generous, Matt! 🙂
    I grew up very poor, so I do a lot of volunteer work and giving to help those in need. I like being able to give back. 🙂 I feel like I am very blessed in my life now. 🙂
    Excellent post! A reminder all of us need! Thank you, Matt!
    HUGS!!! 🙂

  4. yes. we are fortunate, aren’t we? we have food on the table daily. we have clean water to quench our thirst. we have roof over our heads nightly. we have car to transport us to places. we have money to spend on material things. and we have those we can call friends and family. yet, we always wish for something more. something we don’t yet have. how silly is that?

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