I did not have a dollar as she had requested, but I did have a $5 note. Immediately, I began to question myself; should I give her all of it (but I can buy five loaves with it) or look for change (the fuel I would waste looking for the change made it seem hardly worth it)? I finally settled on giving her the $5 note figuring I could borrow some cash from my friends and colleagues if I needed to.
Later, at home, I realised I had been very selfish as I had given the woman the $5 begrudgingly; the honest truth was that giving her that money would not significantly change my existence. While I could still buy bread for my children, could she do the same, especially after the sum I had given her had run out? What would she do the next day and the next after that?
I now feel so ashamed that there was this major debate going on inside my head … over $5. Even if the woman was lying to me, what difference did it really make? Would God consider this kind of begrudging giving an act of kindness, I wondered.
The money I gave that woman meant the world to her at that time, and when I saw the tears in her eyes, I realised that I am often not grateful for God's blessings; I am gainfully employed and my children eat bread every day, unless if they do not want to. But it is always there.
I cannot say the same for Gogo. You see, I did not even ask for her name and I am addressing her as just Gogo! I was too busy debating whether or not to give her the money that I did not ask what crime her grandson was accused of or where she lived or where her grandson’s parents were. Maybe I was too afraid to know? Or perhaps too unconcerned to care?
But I surely could have done better than that.
However, through this experience, I learnt simple but very important life lessons;
• You may not have all that you want in life but you have life - and that is important.
• You may not have all you want in life but you have health - that is very important.
• Sharing with the less fortunate is important.
• You should count your blessings; I drive a basic second-hand ex-Japanese vehicle that is nowhere near the ''ideal'' car, but it takes me from Harare to Bulawayo, to Johannesburg, Victoria Falls and back to Harare. Gogo did not even have $1 for transport.
For me, it may not have been much. But for Gogo, it meant so much more. (Photograph courtesy www.hollows.org.au)
Sometimes we are too preoccupied with our own problems to notice that all someone needs from us is a little help or a smile to cheer them up. And when you help them, they have one less problem to worry about. You certainly won’t receive any gold medal for your efforts but you will have an even greater reward; that genuine, “Thank you”, and the knowledge that you have made someone’s day better.
That little bit you give can go a long way in making someone happier and more grateful; and thus gracious enough to ask God for blessings on your behalf.
I was touched when Gogo said, ''Waita basa mwanangu. Mwari akuitire zvakanaka.'' (Thank you so much my child. May God bless you with His kindness.)
And all I had done was give her $5! Of how much more value are God's blessings? I know for sure that Gogo remembered me in her prayers that day. And that is a very good feeling. And so I have resolved to take time each day and help someone in need, in the hope that they will do the same for someone else.
It’s a domino effect that could set a whole movement of kindness going in our nation. Imagine if we all played our part.