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Don't We All? - an inspirational story by an anonymous author

Parked in front of the local shopping complex I sat inside my car waiting for my son to collect a few items from the supermarket. Coming my way across the parking lot was what society would, from his general appearance, call a derelict – a tramp. He had no car, no home, no clean clothes and probably no money either.


There are times when one feels generous but there are also times when one is just not in the mood and doesn't want to be bothered. This was one of my don't-want-to-be-bothered times. I was hoping he wouldn't ask me for money. He didn't: he came and sat on the curb nearby but he didn't look as though he would have enough money to even buy himself a good meal.


After a few minutes he spoke. “That's a very nice car you have there” he said. He was ragged but he had an air of dignity about him. I thanked him, and continued to listen to the car's radio. He sat there quietly, and the expected plea for money never came. As the silence between us lengthened something inside me said that I should ask him if he needed any help.


I felt sure that he would say yes, but I held true to my inner voice. “Do you need any help?” I asked. He answered in three simple but profound words that I shall never forget. We often look for wisdom in great men and women and we expect it from those of higher learning and accomplishments: from him I expected nothing but an outstretched grimy hand. He spoke the three words that shook me - “Don't we all?”


I was feeling high and mighty – successful and important – until those three words hit me like projectiles from a 12-gauge shotgun. “Don't we all?


I was the one who needed help. Perhaps not for a bus fare or a place to sleep, but I needed help. I reached in my wallet and gave him not only enough for a bus fare, but enough to buy him a warm meal and a few other things for the day.


Those three little words still ring in my ears today.


No matter how much you have, no matter how much you have accomplished, you need help too. No matter how little you have, no matter how burdened you are with problems, you can give help to others. Even if it's just a compliment; you can give that.


You never know when you may see someone that appears to have it all. They are waiting on you to give them what they don't have: a different perspective on life, a glimpse of something beautiful, a respite from daily chaos that only you through a torn world can see.


Perhaps the man was just a homeless stranger wandering the streets. Perhaps he was more than that. Maybe he was sent by a Power that is great and wise, to minister to a soul too comfortable in himself. And whether we wish to believe it or not, we receive help and guidance every day. The Psalmist said that our help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.


Don't we all?

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