Yesterday in London was absolutely beautiful. Bright, sunny and crisp.
My day started pretty normally, I got the tube to work as I normally do but when I exited the tube and made my way to buy some breakfast I felt a huge pang of guilt that I have not been able to shake.
Almost every day I wonder into Pret a Manger or Marks and Spencer’s for my breakfast and walk past a homeless man sitting outside. Yesterday wasn’t the first time.. but I felt particularly guilty that so many people were walking past this man.. myself included.. as if he didn’t exist.
I am not some kind of humanitarian, but I often think to myself ‘ what if I just bought him some breakfast.. a hot drink.. a sandwich’. Then the panic runs through my head.. what if he is offended, what if I choose a chicken sandwich and he doesn’t like chicken, or coffee.. what if he doesn’t drink coffee. All these stupid excuses or worries that prevent me from just making a genuine simple gesture.
As I continued my way to work, not having bought anything as I intended to.. I felt myself feeling worse and worse and wondering if I should go back. What else could I do? Walking along with my designer bag and fruit salad in toe I felt incredibly lucky, fortunate but more so selfish or even self righteous. In a way I felt guilty for feeling guilty.. who am I to think if I bought this man breakfast that it would be at all helpful.
When I arrived to work.. I offloaded to a colleague how I felt. He suggested I gave to a homeless charity. Whilst I will probably do so this didn’t seem like enough, somewhat of a cop-out. Later another colleague by chance mentioned that often helped out at a homeless shelter.. something I am incredibly keen to get involved with.
I realise how easy it is so just get on with your life, give to a charity here and there but never really give time up or take time to think about things. It is okay to have compassion.. and that is what I realise it is, more so it is important to have compassion for people and the world around us.
Any way I can help, big or little is okay. If I decided to buy that man, or anyone else for that matter some food tomorrow or any other day, that is okay too. Sometimes I worry to much about other peoples reactions but realise in this situation even if my gesture isn’t accepted, that is fine too… It starts with something.
Today is the first day of the rest of your life.