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The Blessed Panhandler

April 14, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 220

Living in the downtown core of Montreal in the 1990's and having a dog meant walking the commercial streets morning, noon and night every day of the year. When it came to my first Christmas day walking my dog, Katie, I was struck by the absence of shoppers and yet the multitude of homeless not so easily seen on the other days. The one day the stores were closed you could see just how many homeless people there were.

I decided to give some money each day to three people panhandling on the street (you could still buy something worthwhile for a dollar in those days). It became a mission of sorts.

At first, my attention was drawn to the amusing, talented or engaging panhandlers. After a few weeks, I decided that it made more sense to give to the ones that were really disengaged or bad at it. Finally I decided that since I was always going different daily routes, I would give it to the first three panhandlers I met, leaving it to fate, as it were.

This became my routine. I made sure to meet their eyes, if they were OK with that, to honor the time of our brief encounter by being present, and to apologize to the subsequent panhandlers for whom all I could give was my good wishes.

I can still remember the blessed panhandler. She was dressed no differently than the others. Nothing stood out about her at first but when I gave her my humble gift, meeting her gaze, she said: "God bless you". She wasn't the first to say this, nor the last, but when she said it, I knew she had the power to bestow that blessing on me and she knew that I "got it". It was a holy moment.

I had heard in my childhood that Elijah the prophet roams the earth disguised as the most challenging panhandler, waiting to see those who merit a blessing.

That blessed woman helped me to realize that I was the real panhandler and that those blessed panhandlers (very few indeed but they're there) are the ones handing out the real gifts.

Give without Judgment, with intention and know that we all benefit from the giving.

Receive an original daily inspirational mentoring tweet based on Ken's work with helping teens and young adults find their personal positive power. #kenrabow Want to share your thoughts on the subject. Please comment below and I will comment back to you.

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Blessed Panhandler






Ken Rabow


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