Gifts from a Homeless Man

February is Relationship Wellness month. It can be easy just to focus on romantic relationships or relationships with those who are close to us, but you can also focus on all kinds of relationships – business, friendships, and especially your relationship with yourself. At the store, I have been building a relationship with a homeless man who is helping me to remember the meaning of gifts and money.

How often have you avoided buying a gift for yourself or others because you say you don’t have the money? I would have expected this to be doubly true for any homeless person. Instead, I have found the opposite to be true for the one I have recently been getting to know.

I first met him last year at our old store location. He would periodically come in and ask me if I need our windows washed, but I didn’t feel the store was doing well enough to justify paying for window washing. He loves the crystals and also used to try out some of our skin samples for rashes he had from window cleaning chemicals.

When we moved, I offered to let him wash our windows, but he didn’t make it back from Lake County in time. That was the first time we really talked and I realized he was homeless. He told me some stories of the expensive and large places he used to wash windows for in the 90’s before the economy collapsed. He said he washed windows for most of the businesses in the building where the store is now located. He told me his return date would depend on when he got enough money for gas for his car. I don’t think he has his car anymore as more recently I have been seeing him bicycling.

After we moved he started buying crystals. That’s when the lessons truly started. Originally he bought a few small crystals and then he started saving up his money to buy a $50 Herkimer diamond for himself. He had his eye on a particular one for a long time. I wasn’t at the store when he finally bought it, but I was there when he came back and bought a second one because he had given away the first one. He ended up giving that one away too, and now he is saving up his money for a third one so he can finally have one himself. Over Christmas he had other stones he bought as gifts and he has more that he wants to give.

On his last visit he gave me a piece of a necklace that he bought at a store in Petaluma that he also likes. He wanted to thank me for providing such a beautiful place. He told me the gem is probably glass and that I didn’t need to take it if I didn’t have a use for it. He suggested I could turn it into jewelry and showed me how he had taken one of the stones himself to fit into a ring he had lost the stone from.

I thought about giving it back because I didn’t know what I would do with it, but I didn’t want to hurt his feelings. After he left, I realized that I do want it. I want to keep it as a positive impact gift, the topic of my blog a couple months ago. I will find some place to put it to remind me of the gift of giving from the heart and to be more aware of how I choose to spend my money.

This is just one of the many types of relationships I am building as I go about my life. You can find many relationship opportunities for you this month at Songbird including Inner HeARTist Playdate, our Valentine’s Day Hands of Gold Healing, and Gathering of the Healers. Come build relationships with us!

3 Comments

  1. Great Post Jasmine!
    Your friend, the nameless homeless man, realizes something I discovered during my homeless period, it is not about the gift it is about the act of giving. Giving you the “jewel” was an act of gratitude, love and life on his part. There is a Zen story where the Master at the conclusion states, “the giver should be grateful” rather than the recipient. That is why I give money to folks on the street when I feel the urge. Because I have money to give and I am grateful. Gratitude and appreciation bring more things for which to be grateful and appreciative.

    • Really like what you have to say about giving and receiving. Like you comment but a suggested addition: this man is not nameless, just unnamed in the writing of the story.

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