Changing change

man on car

I went to university in Baltimore, Maryland, and used to speak with the local homeless. I remember once, I was riding home on the bus, and got into a conversation with a beggar. He had an interesting request… he wasn’t asking for money, but for an exchange. He wanted to change his quarters for dollar bills.

“Why?” I asked.

“Because, once I get back to the shelter, and the others hear the change jiggling around in my pocket, I will have to share it with them. I am saving up to buy a new pair of boots to help me make it through the winter, and if I can hide away the dollar bills.”

This man had no job to worry about, no demands from society… other than the expectation to share his earnings from the street. All he wanted was that pair of boots, something I could have easily gone out and purchased for myself without thinking. But that didn’t seem to bother him. In fact, he seemed quite at peace with the world. He was working towards a goal, and seemed quite content to work for it one step at a time.

It’s amazing how many big issues I have in my life – problems which seem insurmountable, that keep me stuck and trapped in my day to day life. How many of these problems are necessary? Compared to this man, are they really that threatening?