Today, as I ran my errands I was on the lookout for a victim. I scanned the usual places: the corner of 14th St and 1st Ave, all along 14th St to Broadway, even down on St. Mark’s and Astor place all to no avail. Strangely, on a beautiful day like today all I saw were well-to-do tourists and NYU students. Now, that in itself should be a cause for mudita to arise and, if I were slightly more mindful during my walk, I might have remembered that but I was on a mission to find someone to impose my charity upon.
It is a strange inversion to suddenly find oneself seeking the company of the homeless and destitute and finding a sudden warmth in one’s heart just thinking about them but there it is. I am kind of uncomfortable, even now, sharing this as it seems almost too self-congratulatory but the joy I felt when realizing that I didn’t have to find the most obvious of mercy cases to whom to give convinced me that sharing would be appropriate.
So, there I was, still in search of someone to whom to give when an older gentleman offered me a card to some new restaurant or something. I politely declined but then it struck me: here is a man in his fiftie, standing in the hot sun and giving out promo cards all day long. I looked and saw he nothing to drink and surely he couldn’t go get anything himself. So, that settled it: I walked into a store and bought him a bottle of water. His acceptance of the gift was well-worth it and he gave me an even greater gift in return by showing me that I need not limit my generosity to only the “worst cases” I find. May he be well, happy and peaceful! Sukhitaa hontu!