Beggars, sitting silently with their handlettered signs, are most prevalent downtown. They can be seen occasionally on Ludlow in Clifton and once in a while in Over-the-Rhine, perhaps in other communities as well.
I don’t have a rule about giving or not giving. I’m just where I am at that moment. As I consider the question, I realize I probably give a dollar or two most of the time. Sometimes it doesn’t feel right to give at all. And a couple of times, I’ve given literally my last dollar – or last $20.
I have a subscription to the homeless newspaper, Streetvibes. Yet I always buy from the street vendors, and pass the paper on to someone who’s never experienced the poetry and pictures in each issue.
On Sunday, during Oktoberfest, as I was realizing that the apple strudel I was munching was just too sweet, I noticed a man in front of me so hungry, in so many kinds of need. I gave him the strudel.
There are so many levels of need, so many beliefs in lack, so much stuckness and pain. I free my dollar bills to do what can be done for those naked souls in front of me.
And at the same moment, I honor our absolute equality and one-ness. The passage of the dollars from one hand to the other is simply a movement in this vast dance.