Thursday, August 4, 2011

Something About the Chicken

Does your mind ever suddenly become overwhelmed with a sudden feeling in which you get the urge to do something you hadn't planned on? I'm talking about the, "I should do what? But I don't know if I want to... I'll feel guilty if I don't... Why am I so focused on this? Okay, I'm going to do it...but, really? Should I?" kind of feeling.

Towards the end of my grocery shopping today at a local market, I decided to swing by the deli section and spontaneously decided to place a hot rotisserie chicken in my cart. This chicken wasn't on my list, I didn't really need it, but it was a spur of the moment "this may make your weekend a little more capable of being lazy" decision. 

While struggling with the beeping and "Unexpected Item in Bagging Area" and "Please Wait for Assistance" reprimands at the self-checkout aisle, a man decided to wait behind my frazzled self to use my machine. I suggested that he may want to head over to another one that was open since I was obviously having technical difficulties. As he walked away from me, holding his small can of soda, I noticed his tattered clothes, dismayed facial expression, and the smell of what seemed to be weeks without a shower. My heart sank and I immediately wondered what he was going through and carried on with my purchasing.

After paying for my items, I walked out of the market and headed towards my car. Suddenly, I was overcome with the feeling described earlier above. In my mind, something was telling me to give the man I interacted with in passing the chicken I had just bought. However, I struggled with this idea and questioned myself. 

He seems homeless, but what if he's not and just having a hard day after work? What if he takes offense to me offering him food? I'm usually skeptical to do things like this, what if he's undeserving? What if? What if?

I actually circled around the parking lot and drove by him twice. Finally, I re-parked and asked myself the final question, "Does 'what if' really matter?". The worst that could happen is that he declines and I endure a little embarrassment. The best that could happen is that I may make his day. I could give him something he may really need and a sign of kindness and love in the world. With that, I grabbed the chicken and began to walk right up to him. As I approached, he looked up and just stared at me. When I was finally right next to him I simply said, "I don't know how you're day is going, but something is telling me you may need this more than I do right now". He looked up at me and I watched as his once dismayed expression quickly changed into a look of utter shock and joy. He didn't say anything to me except, "Really? Thank you so much."; I responded with a few words and walked back to my car. 

It took so much for me to do such a simple act of kindness. I struggled with my pride, made myself vulnerable, and fought with my doubts. However, following through with that feeling allowed me to remember that I am not one to judge. I am not one to continue asking myself "what if's" because I wonder if I should do something random and kind for a complete stranger. 

Some call the feeling that takes over your thoughts and leads your body to physically draw towards the task in your mind a gut feeling-- instinct. Some call it God. I believe it's both. The latter drives the former. 

This experience have lead me to realize that everything I did is a reflection of what I believe to be right in my heart and soul, but not always in my actions. I plan on working on living my heart out more.

I think as individuals, we need to pass on the chicken a little bit more. It's hard, believe me-- it's crazy hard for me to do this especially in situations like this with people I don't know. But if everyone ignored this "feeling" because of pride and fear of being vulnerable-- no one would get chicken.

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