Saturday, July 17, 2010

Can ya spare some change?

The store I'm working in this week has a "Dunkin Donuts" a little too close. It calls to me to visit at least once a day. Yesterday when I pulled into the parking lot I noticed a homeless man standing close to the door. You know, his clothes were too large, he had the overly tan skin, and way too many layers of clothes (considering the heat).
Crap. I hate this. I hoped to make it into the store undisturbed. He didn't even look up. Great! I made it. Now, of only can get out without him noticing me.
"Excuse me miss, can you spare some change?" I felt the back of my head shrink into my now raised shoulders.
"Sorry, your catching me at a bad time." I replied, which was the truth. I was juggling my cup of coffee, purse, keys and cell phone.
I got into my car and it started to rain. He didn't move, just stood there getting wet. I backed my car around in front of him and gave him a dollar.
As I drove away I watched him in my rear view mirror ask the next person for some change.

"There but by the grace of God go I"

What? I used to love that old expression. But what does it mean? Am I covered by this nice warm blanket of grace from God and this homeless man is not? How many wonderful little niceties have fallen into place for me to land in my wonderful world?
And how many odd missteps have landed him in front of the "Dunkin Donuts"?
I wonder if I were standing close to him and had said that out loud, how would it make him feel?

"Excuse me, I could be like you however, by God's grace, I'm not."

Does our God give some people more grace? If you were born in America you were given grace. You could have been born in impoverished Africa, with a life of horrible struggle. If you were born into a loving family, you were given grace. You could have been born into a hate filled home, filled with abuse or even torture.

So, those poor people born in impoverished Africa didn't get any grace.
And those folks born into hate filled, awful homes missed out on the grace too.

Perhaps I don't understand the phrase.

I do know, I'm not going to use it anymore.

Just a thought


  1. I understand your questions regarding the phrase, but I don't think you're asking the right question, or, perhaps, just not looking at it in the right way. I have always taken it to mean that we are all the same in God's eyes, that life isn't fair, and that any one of us could be in any position, financially, culturally, geographically ... whatever. For me, it is an equalizer, not a distancer, and not intended to imply that God "doles out" grace to some and not others. That Dunkin Donuts man has a full share of God's grace. It is my lack if I fail to recognize grace when I'm in its presence. Yes, I am very grateful for the grace I have received, the "good" and the "bad." No one's life is perfect. We don't know what is going on in someone else's life.

  2. Are we just the lucky ones? How come we have a home to go too?