the idea of help

October 13th, 2013

3659camel_blanketI’d just posted this list over on Facebook and here it was, playing out in real life. As I slowed at the light, I rolled down the window, knowing there was fresh green in my wallet.

In the car with me were three middle-schoolers and another mother. I passed the dollar out the window, and in that opening, he took the opportunity to look me in the face and explain himself. He wasn’t going to be here long, he said, but he’d lost his driver’s license and he when he got it back he was going to drive somewhere and work. It spilled out quickly, so long held, the awful jam he was in.

“Do you need a blanket?” the other mother offered from the passenger seat. We’d had fall’s first cold spell the night before.  I wasn’t sure why she had spoken. Was this her gift?

“Sure,” he answered. “Do you have one?”

There was no blanket, just the idea of a blanket, and that doesn’t cover it.

“Now we have to bring him a blanket,” her daughter commented from the back.

“If I bring you a blanket will you still be here?” The mother folded up what had gotten out of hand.

“I’ll wait,” the man said. And the light turned green.



  1. This makes me sad. And clear. Ideas do not warm bodies or fill bellies. The bottom of my purse is littered with coins that fell out of my wallet–today I’ll gather them up and give them away.

    Comment by Jena — October 13, 2013 @ 7:22 am

  2. Give what is needed when the need arises. When the need arises right in front of you.

    Comment by Karen Maezen Miller — October 13, 2013 @ 10:00 am

  3. It makes me sad too. I wonder how the story finally ended?

    Comment by Ranya — October 13, 2013 @ 11:00 am

  4. It ends with you.

    Comment by Karen Maezen Miller — October 13, 2013 @ 11:02 am

  5. It is a powerful thing to just simply notice people instead of making them invisible. It feels good on both ends of the connection. Thanks for this, Karen.

    Comment by Clare — October 14, 2013 @ 11:57 am

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