I do not give money to strangers.
I know we all have reasons for not helping. Too busy. Don't like strangers. Don't know what someone is actually going to do with the money. Had a negative experience helping someone in the past. I've had those thoughts go through my head when confronted with situations where I intuitively knew someone could use the help.
When The Bridge Church launched the Why Bucket, I was only mildly interested at first, frankly. I thought, I guess we can spare a few bucks a week. It’s a fun cause; why not, right?
This started for us because our dog barfed on our comforter. I was complaining to Pastor Phil about having to take my comforter to a laundromat. I was pretty surprised at how much it cost, and I reflected that the woman with the four kids, whom I watched while I waited, must be spending a fortune on her laundry. So, when I was approached a week later about helping someone like her with Why Bucket money, I was taken aback. The non-anonymity is entirely outside of my comfort zone.
We returned to the same laundromat. A woman, this one with five small kids, was there doing a mountain of laundry, shuffling loads in from a ragged-looking van. My husband and I were both seized with a moment of uncertainty, but I finally approached her, looking, I’m sure, both embarrassed and shifty. I gave her the money, she said, "Bless you," and looked me straight in the eye. And that was it.
I found myself looking at a fellow human being who was openly grateful for my help. For a moment I felt connected to her. It felt fantastic. And then I was so embarrassed I practically ran away.
Honestly, the experience was so cool I actually feel like it was a selfish act. I have always given anonymously, and will continue to do so, but the physical intimacy of placing money directly in the palm of someone, meeting eyes with someone grateful and joyful in the moment of receiving, was really cool. I highly recommend it.
Jesus loves in simple ways. This is The Bridge Church.