"A couple of weeks ago, I was on the way Washington D.C. for a meeting with Tanis when I pulled into a convenience store for a Diet Pepsi. On the way back to my car, I noticed a homeless man huddled up by the side of the building, trying to make himself as small a target as possible for the bitter cold wind. He was bared-headed and his coat would have been inadequate on a day that was 10 degrees warmer.
After I got back in my warm car, after I turned on my seat heaters and adjusted the heat to full blast, after I took my wool coat off because I was suddenly too hot, I realized how miserable I was spending less than a minute out in that cold and wondered what it must be like to have to live in it.
And then I glanced into my back seat and saw a giant box, over flowing with the lovely Red Scarves we, you and I, made for the Red Scarf Project. I wondered briefly if I should have given him one, if the maker would mind it going to a cold homeless man rather than it’s intended recipient, but by then I had arrived at my destination and I put the idea and the man out of my mind.
He wasn’t out of my mind for long though. I have spend some part of every day since then just sick about the fact that I didn’t think to give him a scarf. I can tell you this without a moments hesitation: if I had seen a dog suffering in the cold they way that man was, I would not have walked away and left it there. I know I wouldn’t have.
I can’t imagine how cold he much have been. I can’t imagine the turns his life took to get him to that parking lot. I can’t imagine the misery. I’ve tried. I just can’t.
There is another box of scarves in my back seat right now. Scarves and hats and a few pair of mis-matched gloves. The next time I see someone who looks cold, I will step out of my toasty car and my comfort zone and offer him or her something to help keep them a little warmer.
And I’m asking you to do the same. Please go through your closets and make a pile of the hats, scarves and gloves no one wears and put them in a bag in your car. If you have the time and the inclination, it would be lovely to include a couple of hand knit scarves and hats as well. It doesn’t need to be fancy- warmth is what we’re aiming for here.
I briefly considered turning this into some kind of giveaway but then I realized that would be silly. You are lovely, kind, amazing people and you won’t need any incentive. Please do this for me."
One of my new years "resolutions" was to be a person marked by generosity. I want to be more giving. Anyone who has ever changed or impacted my life has been a person who gave. I don't just mean money. I mean generosity with time, talents, smiles, anything. I mean this as a change of attitude and lifestyle more than I do just a goal to meet.
It's been funny how much giving has come up...everywhere. On Sunday at church it was talked about, in my economics class my professor somehow brought up that economist have found that people who give (in this case money) are overall happier with their lives and their money.
Like I said, I don't know that I have a specific way this will look, but this idea is one thing I think I'll implement into this resolution and into life. :)