• Mary Ruth Velicki

It is by giving...

Updated: Oct 6


photo: Vladimir Solomyani on Unsplash

I spotted him sitting in a wheelchair outside of Target with his cardboard sign noting he was a Vietnam vet. I wouldn’t describe myself as a generous person, and I usually don’t give money to those asking for it. But on this day, I felt a sudden impulse to give to this man. I looked in my wallet and realized that I had only a hundred dollar bill in there. I never carry bills over twenty dollars, but my husband had given it to me on a recent trip for safe keeping, and there it was. On most days, I would have shut my purse and kept walking, but on this day, I had the clear sense that I was being encouraged to hand that money over.


When I slipped the bill into the man's hand, he shook his head side to side saying, "Oh.. I haven’t seen one of these in a very, very long time! Hug me!” So I leaned down and hugged him for about five seconds, and I could feel his bony frame under his thick coat. As I walked away I saw him quickly wheeling himself into a Subway sandwich shop.


Opening my wallet on that day was probably more life-giving for me than the man I was trying to help. I will never forget his joy, and how it felt to hold him in my arms. It was so fun that the next time I hear that small voice encouraging me to give, I’m going to listen. I think St. Francis of Assisi got it right. It is by giving that we receive.



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