Charity Becker

What Matters

“I’m hungry; I don’t have any lunch,” he says,
And I know he drinks every weekend and I wonder how he always has money for alcohol.
But it doesn’t matter.
He has to get through two classes this afternoon and he won’t do it on an empty stomach.
So I give him what change I have in my purse to buy some lunch.

“Can you spare some change? Anything helps,” she says,
And she looks healthy and able-bodied and I wonder why she doesn’t just get a job.
But it doesn’t matter.
She has nothing to eat and nowhere to sleep.
So I buy her some food and water so at least she won’t go hungry.

“Can you spare some food for me and my dog?” he says,
And I know how much it costs to own a dog and I wonder why he doesn’t give the dog to a good home.
But it doesn’t matter.
Maybe his dog is his only friend and it’s obvious that he cares for it.
So I give him some fruit and dog food, and pet his dog, and wish him well.

“Can you give me a lift? I have no way home,” she says,
And I know she has a job and I wonder why she doesn’t just ask a co-worker or call a cab.
But it doesn’t matter.
It’s a long walk to town and she’s already been working hard all day.
So I give her a ride and we both get to enjoy some conversation along the way.

Not a word he says as he stands outside the coffee shop,
And I know there are jobs available and I wonder why he isn’t out looking for work instead of begging for change.
But it doesn’t matter.
The wind is bitterly cold already and the day is only supposed to get worse.
So I buy him a muffin and a hot coffee so he can warm his hands.

He’s washing the windshield at the corner or she’s busking on the street,
And I wonder if bad choices or just bad luck have put them in this situation.
But it doesn’t matter.
At some time we all need something,
And a smile, a thank-you, and warmth in my heart are just the something I needed today.

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