why dont i love
I’m sitting inside of Peet’s Coffee and Tea at the Bella Terra where I usually spend most of my free time. I was just asked by a “normal-looking” young lady for financial assistance. I was halfway into telling her I had no cash, a knee-jerk reaction more often true than not, when I realized that I was halfway into a lie. I don’t normally have cash; I handle everything with plastic, and generally don’t realize my wallet is heavier than normal until whenever I reach for the plastic card. But this time, for whatever reason, I remembered… yet I followed through with the lie.
Why is that?
Why was I not willing to help a fellow person in need, literally just minutes removed of reading how God is a loving God, regardless of age, race, religion, sexual orientation, or status? Why was I passionate about feeding the hungry and serving the poor one minute and the very next minute when given the chance to live the life I claim to want to live, I decline?
Quickly all the conservative-leaning excuses rushed to my head. What if she was just lying to me to make a buck? Or if she really did need it, how was a hand-out supposed to help her in the long run? Surely, I am being more loving by “helping” her learn to earn a living rather than asking for a hand-out!
Halfway through my sorry excuse of a lie to this young lady, I regretted it. My heart hit the ground before the words were finished leaving my mouth.
As she walked away, I could tell she was disappointed. I wonder if her disappointment has less to do with my answer and more because I gave her the answer she was expecting. Could it be that she was disappointed by lack of surprise? It’s not that I let her hopes down, they might’ve been already. It’s probably that I didn’t give her reason to keep have hope at all.
I was shocked and paralyzed by my own depravity, unable to even whisper an apology. All the “logical” answers I once used to form my ideology seemed lacking. When I was given the opportunity to love, unconditionally, selflessly, I chose not to, and no logical answer or excuse can change that now.
Perhaps she was not the one that needed something when she asked for my help. Perhaps I did, and I denied, ultimately, myself.