This week, I had a couple of opportunities that required some quick decisions. In both instances, I feel as if I made the wrong choice, and I feel guilty about each.
First, while driving my mother to the store and then her appointment with her eye specialist, we came upon a couple of dogs in the middle of the road. One had been recently hit and appeared to be dead. The other dog was standing in the road confused and refused to leave his friend. I wanted so badly to pull over and go move the dead dog out of the road, so the other little dog would get out of the road. I don’t know that I could have been successful, but I wanted to try, yet I did not.
Why? It was because I had my mother in the car with me, already extremely nervous because she hates going to doctors so badly. It wasn’t the time factor; it wasn’t because I was afraid of trying; it was because I was afraid upsetting my mother. She cannot see well, and she would have not understood. It would have frightened her and upset her more. Here it is 48 hours later, and I still feel like crying for the poor pups, and I feel guilty I did not stop and try to help.
Last night, as my husband and I were driving to the destination of our “date night,” we stopped at a traffic light where a gentleman was holding up a sign that said “hungry.” I have become so jaded and distrustful of people who hold up signs asking for help because I’ve heard many stories about people who have done that as a “job,” rather out of true need. I was debating if the card hanging around his neck was a legitimate identification for those who sell a local paper intended to help homeless and low-income people. Because I debated his authenticity, I missed the opportunity to help someone in need. Just as I saw that he did indeed have the papers and managed to pull out money from my billfold to hand to him, the light changed, and we had to go or cause a traffic issue. I feel guilty about that, too.
This morning, once up and going, both of these events came to my mind. I feel as if I had opportunities to help and do good, and I failed in my “job.” As Jacob Marley told Scrooge in Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, “Mankind is our business.” I can’t have a second try on stepping up to these opportunities, but hopefully when the next opportunity presents itself, I will do better.
Be more prepared than I was to do good when the chance is there.