Thursday, October 20, 2011

Harold at the Door

Harold came to my door again today. Stringy, dirty, hungry, his clothes disheveled as clothes tend to be when they’ve been lived in 24 hours a day, several days a week.

“I haven’t come in a while,” he said, apparently keeping track not to wear out his welcome with the “givers” on his handout route.He pointed to the large pile of boxes on the porch that needed to go to the recycling center. “I can throw this out for you,” he offered, as he looked around for a trash can.

I handed him a bit of money.“That’s okay; you can’t carry them all on your bike. Maybe the next time I’ll have some work for you.” 

The first time Harold showed up at my door, I sent him away. Fear, suspicion, and lack of compassion for a beggar ruled the decision. Harold wasn’t discouraged. A month later, he came again. I gave him some money. The next time he came, my husband talked with him about life, and God, and work. Things Harold said he once had and lost and couldn’t seem to get back.

Over the months my attitude toward Harold has been judgmental, self-righteous, and unsympathetic. But today, I am simply thankful my God is gracious, compassionate, and forgiving. He has shown me much mercy, whether my hard situations were by my own doings or not.

 Later I will go to the Goodwill and buy some warm clothes for the next time Harold comes. If my husband is home, I pray I will have the compassion and the courage to offer Harold a shower and a meal.

Because today I don’t want to reason and rationalize.

I just want the heart to respond to the beggar at my door.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort; who comforts us in all our affliction so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.—2 Cor 1:3-4 (NAS)


  1. Reasoning and rationalizing. We fall so easily into that stuff don't we?

  2. Thanks for sharing a cup of cold water in His name. And thanks for your transparency. God touched my heart through you today.

    Julie Limmer

  3. Amen to that. God bless you and God help us all as there will be many more Harolds around and about before too long, the way things are going.

  4. You have spoken aloud something I have been praying about. How do we balance the safety of our families and our homes with compassion and care for the less fortunate? My hometown was a violent place. The homeless too often robbed, beat, raped and on one occasion murdered those who tried to help. I tend to give to the shelters and other organizations rather than to individuals. Only twice have I approached someone on the street, both on busy corners, and then I gave food rather than money.(I rarely have more than a couple quarters in my purse.) Your compassion is an inspiration. Thank you.


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