When A Heart Truly Opens

I think of myself as a very generous soul, but have learned, it has to ring true.

Giving out of guilt neither helps the giver nor receiver.

Two examples:

There’s a man I know from AA who I like very much. He’s semi homeless, meaning he lives in a shelter, is noble, kind and sober for 22 years.

He never asks for a handout, so when I heard he was seen going through a trash can, my heart left my chest.

Since there are no LIVE meetings because of the virus, I had to search for him. Finally after three tries, found him, sitting near a bus stop by where we used to meet.

I was so happy, but knew, needed to tread softly knowing he’s proud and only wants to be treated as an equal.

After chatting a bit, I hand him a rolled up 20 dollar bill. I knew anything bigger than that could embarrass him which is why he said, “No thanks, I’m okay, but thank you.”

I found myself praying on my feet, something I do in a fix, leftover from my Catholic days I guess, except it’s a little different since it’s more urban in style.

Hail Mary is more like…Mary, are you up? I just want to know he’ll be able to eat.

I said to him, “Listen Max, I’ll call him, please, I need you to take it for me, because I worry about you. You’ve always been so kind to me from the beginning, encouraging me, smiling, handing me Kleenex when I’d cry. Will you do me the favor and just tuck it away somewhere…please?”

After a long moment he did take it, looking at me with what I can only call a Jesusesque expression before saying, “Always know, how much I appreciate you.”

I wept all the home.

But before I got there, a guy jumped from a doorway saying, “Hey, I need money, and I know you got it,” holding out his hand.

My heart said, no, this man’s sense of entitlement doesn’t inspire me to open. I wasn’t afraid, there were people everywhere, but as I walked away realized, giving from the heart is the only way to give to another, a shake down being nothing more than an emotional theft.

I heard him say the same thing to a woman behind me, not turning around to see what she did.

Instead, my heart and I just kept on going.Β Β 


About Susannah Bianchi

I'm just a girl who likes to write slightly on slant. I've had a career in fashion, dabbled in film and to be honest, I don't like talking about myself. Now my posts are another matter so I will let them speak for themselves. My eBooks, A New York Diary, Model Behavior: Friends For Life and Notes From A Working Cat can be found on Amazon.com. Thanks.
This entry was posted in alcohol, Culture, friendship, grace, Gratitude, humanity, inspiration, New York City, words, writing and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

110 Responses to When A Heart Truly Opens

  1. Dale says:

    You’re right. You have to feel it to give it. And the reasons matter not to anyone else but you. How they ask (or not) is as important as why you give.
    The way I see it, if you feel right in the giving, then it is the right thing to do.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Dale says:

    It truly doesn’t. I have 20 bucks to a guy once who was frazzled (I can’t remember the whys). Mick told me he thought I was nuts and being had (surprising as he was very generous). I replied I was good with giving it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Your karma wouldn’t be the one tainted anyway. You gave in good faith, it’s the scoundrel, if indeed he was scamming, who’d pay the piper, no pun intended. Sometimes it’s hard to tell. I always say thanks for being in a better position. I just can’t imagine standing on a street corner or jumping from a doorway. OY

      Liked by 1 person

      • Dale says:

        That’s what I figured. I still believe he was in need, so I’m good. But yeah, it is hard to tell. And no, neither could I. OY squared!

        Liked by 1 person

      • I remember my late, great friend Jackie, one time got snookered by a woman with little kids, she found out was a scammer, and I’ll always remember what she said…My heart opened for what I thought was a worthy cause, and the woman asking, had her reasons. How’s that for nobleness?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Dale says:

        That is exactly it, isn’t it? She made a choice to give and the reasons for the other one asking are secondary, in the end. Of course, we’re not talking huge amounts of money – that would be a whole ‘nother ballgame!
        Like me, you didn’t sleep much?

        Liked by 1 person

      • I was up reading a great book. I don’t fight insomnia anymore, I give it its due. I finally fella sleep for an hour but, it’s okay. Still got up and ran. πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

  3. What a contrast! Thank you for writing that. I never thought about the difference between a person in genuine need who wouldn’t ask for help and one who is a shakedown artist.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Love, shakedown artist. Good name. It’s very common I’m sorry to say. You know instinctively who really needs help opposed to the professional panhandler. I always look at their sneakers. Most of the time they outrank mine. We try not to judge but sometimes, you can’t help it.


  4. skinnyuz2b says:

    Susannah, I envy your ability to say the right thing. If there is a wrong thing to say, it finds its way out through my lips.
    On a positive note, this stupid virus has forced many families to become closer. Unforunately it has also distanced our connection to our outer circle. Thank heavens you haven’t let it stop you.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. kingmidget says:

    Exactly … I worked in downtown Sacramento for the last 22 years. There are many homeless down there. Many of them I saw regularly for years. Like you, there were some that reached into me and plucked my strings. Others, though, just left me cold.

    There is a “homeless” newspaper in town. I’m not sure who actually publishes it, but once a week, they have homeless people on corners selling copies for $1. There was one guy who was regularly right outside of the building I worked in. He was very quiet and humble and never got in anybody’s face. I made a point of giving him a dollar or two every now and then. But I never gave money to any of the other newspaper pushers.

    And as for the rest of the panhandling homeless, I occasionally gave but not very often. It just had to be the right person at the right moment. But the loud and the brash and the entitled stood no chance with me.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Great story, Susannah. I used to hate those pushy panhandlers. Reminded me of the time I was on Park Avenue one night walking along deep in thought. A guy came out of nowhere and asked if I could spare some money for a ride back to Connecticut (you know, well dressed, lost wallet and train pass scam) I said sorry not carrying money. Got to the corner and three other guys came out of nowhere and said, “If you don’t have money for him. How about us?” I had to give them a second take since I was dumbfounded. I answered with something like, “No, and I’m late for a meeting. Excuse me.” I got down the block a little and realized I could have been killed. I can’t imagine what those guys thought. I think they were as surprised as me and didn’t know what to do.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Sorryless says:

    People tend to forget that homeless people come from someplace else. That’s not how their lives used to be. Having volunteered, you come to understand the pride they carry with them still. A soup kitchen experience is something everyone should do, if only to gain perspective. Most of these folks do not want nor ask for anything.

    Good on you for understanding how it works and having a heart as wide as the city you call home.


  8. I always feel that tension between giving to those who need it and not giving to the ones who are trying to take advantage of people. I’m sure Max appreciated it a lot and probably let him eat some good food. Thanks for being an inspiration.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s a moral issue always with me. Am I being prudent, or just cheap? Max never fails to bring out the best in me, this I know. He excavates my good to its fullest. I guess that’s what creates such a contrast for me; the humble verses the entitled. The expectant rivaling the surprised. Thanks David. I know how busy you are, yet find time to come a callin;. πŸ™‚


  9. Pingback: When A Heart Truly Opens – Shannon’s 2020

  10. Megan Lea says:

    β€œGiving from your heart is the only way to give to another” – what an inspiring story this really touched me.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Beck says:

    This is a sweet post! Thanks for sharing. It’s true give when you feel the urge to do so otherwise it’s just an obligation. Not a gift

    Liked by 1 person

    • An interesting lesson to learn. I feel guilty sometimes since, so many people are on street corners, but one’s heart knows when it’s tapped for someone’s good. When I left Max, there was no question it was right. You just instinctively know. Thanks for visiting. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Aarti Yadav says:

    Your Heart knows everything, always believe what it says!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Pingback: When A Heart Truly Opens – Have to be better

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  15. SD Gates says:

    I love your stories!!! I remember when my kids were maybe 10 and 12, we saw a homeless man on a corner with a sign – asking for food. So I thought I would teach my kids a lesson in giving. We drove to the McDonalds down the street and purchased a full meal, with a drink – and drove it back to the guy. We got out of the the car to hand it to him, and he took the bag, opened it and said I only like Big Macs, not Quarter Pounders, and threw the bag over his shoulder. It was a teaching moment, but not the one I had hoped for.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Psychnautics says:

    Thanks for this sweet story! When you got to the man who begged you for money, I actually hesitated a bit, wondering if not giving the money was really the right thing to do simply because his request didn’t move you. Can we pick and choose like that? Just reminded me of how we pick and choose between helping different animals just because some of them are β€œcute” and some of them are not. But I do agree w you at the end of the day, I think we do have the acuity to sense when someone actually needs help or if someone is just taking advantage.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m an extremely generous soul, almost to a fault. I read once, that if you don’t feel good about the giving, then it’s not the best thing for either party. I’ve had coffee tossed at me because the person wanted money instead. I’ve been screamed at, called names and actually chased for not answering a demand. I know when I give to someone like Max, I feel God smile. It almost makes me lose my balance, or regain it. All I know. Thanks for reading.

      Liked by 1 person

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