The current installment of the COEC began meeting in 2007.

We are currently on a "break," for no particular reason, and many little reasons - mostly pertaining to life circumstances. If anyone is interested in calling a meeting, feel free to post on the blog, join the google group (see link below) and send an email, or contact either Nancy (nancykj10@yahoo.com) or Jesse (schroeder.jesse@gmail.com) for more information.

To receive cohort emails, join our Google group.


A Quick Story

Walking home from Cup O’ Joe, the sun was shining; I was in a great mood; I’d just had coffee with a really good friend.

As I was passing St. Mary’s Church, a homeless man asked me for change. My usual response is to avoid eye contact or say “I’m sorry.” This morning was no different. I quickly walked past him like he was invisible.

But I was so disappointed in my response that I turned around, went back and said, “Look I’m going to give you a dollar. Would you please spend it on food?” And I went on to tell him that I loved God and that I hoped he came into better circumstances.

The whole time I was talking he had this dazed look on his face like he couldn’t quite take in what was happening.

I turned and walked away and his parting words to me were…

“Do you have a $20?”

And I thought, well Nancy so much for your noble gesture! Did you really think you could make a difference in this man’s life? Did you really think this time would be different? How many times have you been told not to give money to people who beg and how many times are you going to be taken in?

While I’m quite sure that giving out some spare change rarely brings about a life-changing experience for someone deep in poverty or that I would be better off directing them to a homeless organization, I don’t ever want my heart to get that hardened.

Instead, I want to use discernment and discretion. Sometimes perhaps I will give; sometimes offer a kind word; hand out a card of a homeless organization that can help; and sometimes wisdom will have me continue walking.

The lesson for me today was to really open my eyes and stop pretending that what I do doesn’t make a difference. Giving money may be the least of the best options. But I took time, I looked into his eyes and I told him I loved God.

That might not have been life changing for him, but it will never cease to be life changing for me.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey NancyJ!

Not yet an official member, but your delima hit close to home. I've been in both roles, the giver & the receiver & I've also been the one who decides to withhold. Follow your conscious. Every situation is different. There are people on the street I don't give money to & some I will, regardless of the situation. Too often, the money goes for drugs or alcohol, sure, but that may be the final catalyst that brings reformation. I often don't open up my wallet on the street simply because it's not good for me to be identified as an easy mark. Once, when I was on the street, a fellow gave me a fifty & & twenty, crumbled up like waste paper. He was sober, & I'm sure I blew the money rather quickly. Follow your heart.