DLS Consulting

Where is Your Christmas Spirit ?

My wife and I are spending our first Christmas away from Ohio, and we decided to spend a few days in historic St. Augustine, Florida last week.  We found all the places that sell chocolate and gelato in between visits to the 400 to 500 year old structures that help define the city’s history.  We walked where Henry Flagler walked and even worshipped in a church that Flagler built. 

We heard a community chorus sing segments of Handel’s Messiah and even ran across an old friend who I worked with at Merrill Lynch in the early 70’s.  This turned out to be a great way for us to enjoy each other’s company and also soak up some of the history of our country.  I also found myself shopping or waiting for my wife to finish shopping as with all tourist areas, there are lots of things to see that can be purchased.

While sitting on a bench, one of the mornings, a young man in his 20’s sat down next to me and pulled out a sign that said “hungry need food” and placed it in front of him on the sidewalk.  He then pulled out some reading materials from his backpack; set a stocking cap next to the sign; and placed a dollar bill and some change in it to show people what he expected for them to do. 

My reaction to this was pretty quick to observe that this young man looked strong enough to be working rather than sitting on his butt waiting for handouts, and then he found in his backpack some smokes and started working on a cigarette.  As he is kicking back on his reading, sure enough along came some people and they did place some money in the hat and he did not say thank you or even acknowledge the gifts.  My quandary is whether to lecture this kid on the value of work, preach to him about work from the Bible, or take him by the hand to a place down the street that has a sign asking for applicants for work. 

The next thing I know at least six (6) more street people walk by him and check out how the gig is going and whether he is getting any money and should they set up down the way.  Mr Merrill Lynch is now getting very upset because he knows a little bit about street smarts and this kid is pushing way to far for his comfort zone.

As my tactical strategy is about to kick in, a man in a wheelchair who is barely able to move his chair comes out of the alley next to a store and moves slowly toward us.  This man is quite heavy and not very well dressed and clearly has not had a bath in a long time.  As he slowly approaches us, I’m thinking that he is coming to set up shop along side this deadbeat kid and now the area will have to support both of them. 

The man in the wheelchair doesn’t do that at all.  He creeps up to the young man and says “Have you eaten anything?”  The young man says “no”.  The slovenly dressed man in the wheelchair takes out a few dollar bills from his pocket and gives the young man half of them.  They both disappeared into the day!

“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me.”  Psalm 51:10


Sent December 18, 2006

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