04 Jan

That could have been me

How often have you looked at someone and wondered what got them into the position they are in, perhaps drunk, drugged, homeless etc?

Last week walking home from my local town, midday, I saw a lady perhaps in her late 50’s sprawled on the floor outside of a pub, a portion of chips lay scattered out on the pavement next to her.  My automatic reaction was to run over to her to see if she was ok and help her up.

After speaking with her and looking more closely, her fingers were stained with nicotine, her clothes unkempt, her voice slurring, part of me wondered if she had a stroke or if it was ‘the booze talking’.  I asked how I could help her and she said she wanted money for incontinence pads.  I gave her a pound or so, she didn’t want helping up or anything else.  I watched from the end of the road concerned for her and saw a stream of people approach her, they too gave her money.  She was there for some time half propped up against a wall collecting change.

Walking back home I reflected on this event, should I have gone to the shops and got her what she asked for, should I have called an ambulance, should I have questioned her about how she was going to use the money she took from passers by?  So many thoughts were running through my mind.

Truth is perhaps giving money was wrong if it was going to be spent in cigarettes or alcohol but I gave with a good heart and trusted her word.  It’s so hard to know what to do for the best and to offer people some dignity if this is what they seek.

It got me thinking…that could have been me laying there perhaps infused with alcohol, a smoker, perhaps homeless, incontinent or without the ability to care for myself adequately.  It got me curious, what led this lady to be in this position, what of her life, her family, her experiences, her challenges and triumphs?

Who are we to judge others?  Next time you look at someone with pity, disgust,  anger or the unfairness of it all reflect for a moment and realise that we may never truly know someone’s story and what led them to that place.  It could have been you!

Let’s count our blessings for everything that we have in our lives as we never know when those blessing may be taken from us.