“Hello,” I said to the dark haired man in a wheel chair.
“Hello,” the main said back very matter of fact.
“How are you?”
“I’m doing well,” the man looked me in the eyes.
He was obviously homeless. I’m ashamed to admit that I do not remember his name. He told me about his experiences in Vietnam—how he thought it was all a United States and Chinese conspiracy to covertly bring sell opium. We talked about the work he had done for Microsoft in the past and how he had evaded paying taxes for so long. The list was interesting.
“Are you hungry?” I asked him.
“Yes,” he said.
I bought him a meal from Jack in the Box. It wasn’t much—just a few tacos. A few weeks later, I passed another man who was obviously homeless, but I didn’t stop to say hello to him. I wasn’t in a hurry. I didn’t have anywhere better to go. In fact, I think I went home and played guitar hero in my apartment. Why didn’t I stop? Well…I didn’t have any money.
And then it hit me like a ton of bricks.
I viewed myself as a homeless charity organization. I wasn’t talking to them simply to talk to them—to treat them like human beings. I was talking to them because I thought I had something to offer them. I was talking to them because I thought I could bless them.
But I realized that it didn’t stop there. I recalled a conversation I had a few weeks ago with a dear friend of mine. His name was Randy. I love Randy, but he can be a bit annoying. He’s the type of guy who doesn’t have the best social skills—a Charlie Brown.
“Do you really value our friendship,” he asked me once.
“Of course I do,” I answered simply. “You’re worth so much to me.”
I don’t know why that conversation stuck with me, but now that I look back at the words we used, I realize that I speak of relationships in terms of economics. Words like “value” and “worth” are all words we ascribe to money. As we continue thinking about people, we need to remove economic value from relationships—love is not a piece of meat.