I went to get gas on my lunch break today. Pretty routine for me.
As I sat in a line of cars, I watched a man push a grocery cart from trash bin to trash bin, looking through them for cans and bottles to add to his collection. The attendant brought out a few cans that he had in his station to give to the man.
I watched the man as he walked away, intently pushing his cart onward to the next trash bin across the parking lot. I pulled up, pumped my gas, and started to drive off.
I remembered that I had four bags of bottles and cans in the back of my car that I had been meaning to return.
I drove around the parking lot and found a spot, parked my car, and grabbed the bags. As I headed over to the man, I noticed that he was an older gentleman, with a multitude of grey hair, weathered skin, and a tired but intent expression.
I said, “May I offer you these?”
He replied: “Thank you very much. I hate to have to do this, but it’s how I am able to eat. I am grateful for people’s indifference to throw money away. Every nickel counts! ”
Onward he went.
And there I stood … humbled.
I struggle with bills, like everyone else, and often scrimp and save, and manage what I can for my family. We don’t have everything we might like, and we have sacrificed to have basic necessities, but we have always had enough. Hard as it is sometimes, I have no idea what it is like not to know where my next meal will come from. I know we have so much need in this world, but there is also a great need right here in our backyards.
I don’t typically say grace when I sit down to a meal. It’s never really been a practice of mine.
Today I did.
I have much to be grateful for.