Updated: Sep 11
A shared experience between homeless man, a young donut shop clerk, and I taught me about the power that moves us and connects us.
An Unexpected Detour
Franck and I were on our way to pick up our children from school today when I got the idea to treat the family to a dozen donuts.
Since it was on our way home, the kids hopped into my car and I took the surprise detour home.
Franck and our son asked, "Where are we going?"
"Where do you think we're going?" I replied encouraging them to guess.
"To get DONUTS!" the kids exclaimed.
The Power That Inspires Us
On our way into the shopping center, I saw a homeless man standing at the entrance. The directive came into my mind, "I'm going to get this man a donut."
We went in and picked up our Valentine's day dozen.
I asked the teenager behind the counter to give me a glazed donut and put it in a separate bag. I explained, "I saw a man standing at the entrance and I'd like to give him one, if you can put it in a bag for him."
He rang me up. He didn't charge me for the extra donut. I motioned for him to add the extra donut to my bill. He walked about from the till. Without saying a word, his eyes locked into mine and said, "This one's on me."
I told Franck about what happened in the parking lot on the way to the car. Franck agreed that the young man wanted to be a part of the giving experience.
The Power That Fulfills Our Heart's Desires
The cars were rolling through the green light out of the shopping center. My car stopped next to him as the light turned red. I stretched my arm out of the window and handed him the package.
His eyes lit up as he took the paper bag.
He said, "Thank you! I was just thinking about how much I wanted a donut right now! Thank the Lord!"
The Power To Heal Our Broken Hearts
I asked him where he's from. He said, showing me his tattoo on his arm that said, Oceanside, "Born and raised."
My daughter asked him, "What happened to you?"
He sounded said, "I lost my parents... and...."
He couldn't find the words to explain to my kids why he was begging on the street corner.
I said, "It's ok. You'll make it back again."
When I said that, I was thinking of the flooring contractor named Dario I met who was a once a homeless drug addict and overcame it with hopes to minister to others "on the road". I learned from our encounter how far he had distanced himself from God only to make it back again.
We wished each other a good day and continued on as the light turned green.
The Power That Connects Us
What struck me the most important about this experience was not about "doing a good deed" or "being an example of charity for my kids," or whatever people think about when they do something nice for a perfect stranger.
What was most amazing about the encounter was how three separate individuals - the man on the corner, the donut shop kid, and myself - created a sequence of events that would renew our faith in a power greater than each of us and yet binds us all together.
I had the thought to get the man a donut. I didn't have to do it; nobody was holding me to it. I wasn't legally or morally obligated to do it. I just felt that I had to do it. Like, it was important to do it.
I expressed to the young man how we needed to wrap the donut (Covid concerns and all) so as to give it to the man on the corner. And he felt like giving and further leaned in on his intentions when I insisted on paying.
But was was so striking was, the man on the corner simply imagined how nice it would be to eat a donut. He was probably imagining the taste of it and the yumminess of a warm, freshly baked glazed donut. And yet, he had no money to get one. He didn't need the money. He has the power.
The Power That Moves Through Us
Whatever you want to call this emotive power - Spirit, the Universe, Law of Attraction, gravity - that went from him imagining the donut, to me deciding I had to get him the donut, and the young man insisting on giving me the donut moves through us all. It connects us.
For better or for worse, either with evil intentions or loving intentions, this moving force connects us. I'd like to think that the unifying force in that particular situation was love. But, imagine for a second, if we were all motivated by hate? Or fear? What kind of events would transpire?
It was obvious that all three of us are certainly at different places in our lives: financially, spiritually, professionally, mentally, emotionally, karmically, even racially (black kid, Asian woman, white man). Those differences don't matter and actually worked out for the best so that we could all be positioned to operate from that plane of existence during those sequences of events. We are all connected. Or, as the Bible says in Acts 10:34, "God is no respecter of persons."
This power works through us and for all of us, no matter our station or place in life. I always tell my kids that even homeless people have their own center of gravity: every body gets what they expect and what they believe is true.
My daughter told the man that I had a hard background, too, but he wouldn't guess it by looking at me. I later explained to her that it takes courage for someone like the man on the corner to live and work through his private and personal struggles so publicly; in broad daylight. So many of us struggle behind closed doors, but manage to function during working hours. Struggles are struggles are struggles. Some manage them better than others.
I don't know what I taught the young man in the donut shop or the man on the corner. But, I do know what they taught me: when we're attuned to "the power" it's like riding a wave. There is no struggle, just hop on and see where it takes you. Maybe we are all connected by a love of donuts? Or, just love. All of us are worthy of love. It feels good to give it as it does to receive it. Giving because it feels good to give, not because we expect something in return, is the point of giving. And, don't worry about the expense of giving, the accounting adds up in the end.
There is a power, an intelligence, a force that connects to us, through us, and works through us. I learned through this experience what the power is and how we can use it if we're faithful to it knowing more than we do. Do you recognize your power?
Have you ever had an experience like this? I want to know. Leave your story in the comments.