Sparked by Words


So many things are going wrong in my life at the moment, most of them related to – well, everything, now that I think about it. I’ll begin by stating that I won’t begin at the beginning. Imagine problems one, two, three, ad infinitum. And the final problem – the car, nineteen-years-old, worn and cranky – was at the mechanic shop last night, and the two older grands spent the night at my home so their parents could have an evening out. Hubby was working out of town. That meant I couldn’t drive the grands anywhere but I asked if they’d like to walk to a restaurant. So we did. The nearby shopping center offers many choices, and the kids picked a favorite Italian place, one that good-naturedly welcomes kids. We each ate pasta with a favorite sauce, slurping meatballs and noodles, gorging on hot bread and butter, sharing our selections with each other. After dinner we walked to the grocery store around the corner and bought food for breakfast this morning.

On the sidewalk we passed a man slumped against a wall who asked for nothing but looked away from us, seeming sad, dejected, tired, homeless. Possibly he was ill from a life lived in dark corners or unkempt gullies for who knows how long. I have so many bills, a falling-apart car, a house in disrepair on many fronts. Our financial situation precludes us visiting our younger son, his wife and the two younger grands.  But I bask in so much wealth in many ways.

My grands waited at the corner and watched as I walked back to the homeless man and asked if he was hungry. He nodded but remained silent. I gave him a bill. He looked and when he realized I’d given him not a one but a ten dollar bill, his face lit up. Ten dollars will buy a fraction of a tank of gas or pay a small bit of what the mechanic is going to charge me to fix the car that may run well enough to need that gas. Tears dripped down the cheeks of the old man; he could barely speak but in a hushed voice, he asked my name. I told him and asked his, then told him to please get something to eat. He nodded, still grasping the bill, a lifeline for the evening.

I don’t usually give to people on the street though we donate small amounts to many charities and worthy causes in more traditional ways. When possible I participate in service projects, and the kids do the same as part of their Scout programs. I know the homeless man may have bought a cheap bottle of booze with the bill, but I can’t stop people from destroying themselves if that’s what they choose. I can only choose my own life, and last night I chose to give a stranger, an old man, enough to sustain him for one more night. I hope he ate something hot and good for him. I choose to think he did. The kids witnessed a small act of mercy, and hopefully it impressed them in a way that will impel them to be compassionate as they grow up.

My grands were so sweet the whole evening and this morning, and so grateful that they got to spend the night at my house. I am angry, distressed, and deeply frightened about the deterioration of the environment, the danger of escalating world political danger, the uncertain economic future facing all my grandchildren and all your grandchildren. But my choice is to continue to do as much good as I can in this world, even if they are only small acts of justice or kindness or being responsible for the earth’s limited resources.

So, it has been a very good week for me despite the falling apart car for which the mechanic shop is having a hard time finding the part it needs to fix it, despite the fact we do not have air conditioning to endure this hot and humid summer, and despite that the floors in the kitchen and the bedroom remain ruined after two different broken pipe floods. Life is very good for me and I know how fortunate I am. It is far worse for many others.

Many years ago I was given a tiny piece of paper imprinted with two Hebrew sentences. I carry it with me at all times. Each sentence reminds me I am part of a world that is incomplete. It is not only my choice, but my charge as a citizen of the world community to contribute in a positive way. On one side is written, “The world was created for my sake.” On the other, “I am but dust and ashes.”

I am but dust and ashes. The world was created for my sake, not to squander but to help ensure the future. For the grandchildren of the world.



The Children painting courtesy Valentin Serov,


Comments on: "Choices" (37)

  1. Abhijith Padmakumar said:

    Awesome post. I totally agree with your words and thoughts 100%. I just loved your post so much !! 😊

    Liked by 2 people

  2. What a wonderful post. Life may be throwing you obstacles but you are handling them with grace and creativity. Bless you.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Feeling blessed that this crazy week started with our spending some precious time together.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What a great post, Sharon. It resonated with me, since I happen to be in exactly the same mindset at this moment. Hugs 🤗

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Good moral at the end, Shari, despite the twists. Life is not easy or fair. Sigh.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Your grandchildren are blessed to spend such great quality time with you, Shari. When I’m stressed about bills and expenses I always think about what my dad told me before I got married… “don’t fight about money, don’t worry yourselves to death about bills. You’ll always have them. No sense in worrying.” It helps. Helping the man you met was exactly what you were meant to do that day.. Bless you, my friend. I’m going to keep you in my prayers.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Audrey. Your dad had a great attitude because it reminds you that other things in life are more important. It means so much to me to know how much you’re there for me – as I hope you know I am for you.


  7. What a beautiful post. I wish you all light and love, Sharon, and peace as you overcome such a difficult time. xoxo Julie

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Shari, this post meant so much. Like you, I do not have many things that are probably needed for this world we live in these days but I have enough to survive. Yet, I cannot say I really feel poor because of what I have that is not material. I give when I think the need is great and protect when I feel the harm is immense. In either case, it may not look that way to someone else but I feel I must go by my own conscience.

    What you did for that man has plant another seed of decency in your grandchildren. They will remember and do the same one day.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Glynis, I so agree with you that it is not the material that counts, but living with our conscience. There are many incidents of people who are very poor who also find ways of opening their hearts and homes to those who are even more needy. And as you state, whatever we do, it is not to meant to make ourselves appear generous or altruistic, so it doesn’t matter what others may think about us.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Beautifully written; my heart slumped into the despair, but rose in the hope that you are with humanity. We charge along, hoping for better, but content and thankful for what we have. Tomorrow is new and with it, the promise that we might have a positive impact, and always the reminder of the love of our family.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Margie, I’ve missed you and am so glad you’re back on your own blog. I hope things are going well for you.
      Thank you for your sweet comment – my family certainly keeps me afloat, for sure, as do friends.


  10. Beautiful post Sharon, as you are yourself. What lovely reminders to carry in your pocket. I’m sure your grandchildren will have their Grandma’s humanity rub off on them. I hope the car is not too expensive.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Shari, that was not a small act of mercy. It was a grand act of compassion. You, my dear friend, are an inspiration not only to the “grands” but to all of us who have the honor of having you in our life.

    You are in my daily prayers and I know that God is delighted he created your soul and gave you life.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. so beautiful – am reminded of how, at times when I fear loss, I must remember how lucky I am to have something to lose — & how lucky I am to have something to give or share. during hard times, I’m reminded of how sheer luck plays into so many things …


  13. Without a sense of eternity I couldn’t go on. I wish I was thinking more about the big world. Instead I get anxious about “getting stuff done.” It leads to a lot of selfish behavior and angst.

    Great post, Shari!


  14. I’m so sorry things are rough for you right now. Hold on, this too will pass.

    I also try to help homeless people. although usually I buy them some food. But other times I’ve gone to more substantial effort. I think of it as being tempted by virtue, and it’s usually a good idea to succumb, as long as you keep yourself safe.

    None of the help we give will last forever–some of it won’t even last the day. But I tell myself that it matters. It means we live in a world where not everyone turns aside.

    What a wonderful thing to teach your grandchildren. 🙂


    • Cathleen, I love the way you put it – “it means we live in a world where not everyone turns aside.” A very hopeful attitude.

      I know things will get better some day – thanks for the reminder.


  15. Oh, how I enjoyed every line of this tear-prompting, perspective lending post. Lovely of you, absolutely!


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