Lori and I just wrapped up our trip to Europe and wow, it was one of our greatest experiences to date – not just enjoyment wise, but we learned so many things about ourselves and other people.
One particular story and lesson we’ve taken home taught us about perspective on how people think, but don’t take action.
While having lunch in a beautiful square in Spain, we overheard the conversation of a group of women on vacation at a nearby table. They were talking about another person they knew – someone who presumably had a lot of money. They were appalled that someone could buy a $60,000 watch when they could use that money instead to feed people. Of course, my ears perked up because this was clearly a money mindset issue.
But before I go further, please know that by sharing the following story my goal is not to brag; nor is it to judge these women. After all, we’re all on different journeys, right?
“Make a difference, don’t make a judgment.”
Their judgments all come down to perspective. So yes, a $60,000 watch is a great deal of money to an everyday family with an average income. But if this person has $100 million or billion, it likely doesn’t affect how they give. What if they annually give away $50 million? To this particular person, $60,000 may very well be a drop in the bucket compared to the impact they’re making already.
As these women continued discussing, suddenly a beautiful woman entered the square. She was a woman who I could tell was beautiful inside and out, but it was clear that she was mentally and physically challenged – and homeless.
A bit later, we heard this angelic voice sing one of the most moving songs we’d ever heard. We looked around and around and found ourselves looking at this same woman. Our minds were blown and I felt compelled to get up, walk the 500 feet to where she was standing (with a cup in hand for money), and give her 50 Euros. She turned so quickly she dropped the cup filled with coins. I bent down to help her pick it all up and place the 50 Euros in her cup. When she realized what I had given her, her face lit up with a smile so big I couldn’t contain my own, and it was in that moment, even though we didn’t speak each other’s languages, I could see the profound gratitude she felt.
The woman continued to sing and weave her way through the square and eventually made her way near us and toward the table of women. She stopped at our table, rewarding us again with a bright smile, and proceeded onward. With her cup extended for money, these women brushed her (as well as other performers) off. This was a clear example of people preaching and talking about how someone else should give, but when given an opportunity to improve someone else’s life, they didn’t.
I tell you this story to demonstrate that there are a lot of people out there judging, talking and preaching, but all of that adds up to nothing in the lives of people who actually need a handout. What does add up are the people who have a few extra dollars to give in the moment when someone shows up that could be given to.
So, do you want to be one of the talkers or the doers? I think you already know what my answer is.