Anne Diffily | July 19, 2016
During the Great Depression hobos created a sign language — symbols scratched on doorposts and in the dirt — to alert fellow homeless men of hazards and havens along the way. A cat drawn on a gate meant “A kind lady lives here,” signaling that a meal would be offered if the weary traveler but knocked.
I aspire to be that kind lady. Every time I want to turn my back on a panhandler extending his hand — and instinctively I do flinch — I hear the small, insistent voice of my humanity prodding me to respond. Jesus was pretty clear: “As you do to the least of my brethren, you do to me.” There’s no wiggle room. The brother or sister who asks for our help or our cash may be ill-spoken, dirty, substance-addicted, odoriferous or otherwise repulsive, but that’s no excuse, I thought, for not helping, not giving.