So I'm home now, but reflecting on some of the things I experienced last week. One recurring motif that surprised me was this: 'Beggars Can be Choosers!" What do I mean by that?
Several times during the week our team worked with populations that were either economically disadvantaged or homeless. Our mode of connection was that we had some good or service that we thought they might need, and we were offering this to them free of charge. Several times, however, the intended recipients surprised us by either refusing the goods they seemed in desperate need of, or countering the offer with a demand. "I can't take a size 38, I need a size 36 men's jeans." ("Even though they were beautiful Kenneth Cole?" our team member said!)
Another instance was when at a soup kitchen we were handing out free coats. It was cold, and there was at least 2 feet of snow piled up on the edge of the street. Yet many of the individuals turned down the coats offered, either because they weren't the right style, or didn't fit the way an invididual wanted. (as in, "ma'am, I'm not sure you would quite be able to fit into a small') The worst offender was a woman who jumped in line to start with, got a beautiful, stylish coat, then came back later wanting to return it. She had ripped the loop used to hang the coat, and demanded we take it back because "it was ruined."
I've been wondering about this. Why would people so obviously in need refuse a sincere and adequate offer to meet their needs? Without passing judgment, I wonder if you'd be willing to throw out a few answers, then I'll tell you what I'm thinking.