a few days ago, on a particularly cold and blustery night, *h was out for coffee with some business associates. as they were leaving the store, a homeless man approached them, and pleaded, “can any of you help me get something warm to eat?”
normally- like most people, i suspect- we don’t give money to people who solicit it on the street. we give donations to charities, and we will sometimes give useful items, like granola bars or bottles of water, but as a general rule we pretty much never hand out cash. this is for a plethora of reasons, which i don’t need to get into here, but for the sake of the story, just know that this is our default.
and now i need to step back from the night of the story and give you and update on our boiler saga. we were still without heat in the house, and snow was predicted for later in the week. we had applied for multiple loans, from multiple sources, to finance a new boiler and had been turned down on all of them. we tried to get a home equity loan and when the appraisal came back on our house (which we had been assured would be way more than enough to qualify for the loan), it was enough under what it should have been that there was no way we could get that loan either. it was also dawning on us that although it was a real blessing that we had the few space heaters running non-stop so our house wouldn’t freeze, that meant that our electric bill was going to be astronomical (and most likely unmanageable). *h was feeling increasingly desperate and it didn’t seem like there was going to be any way to solve our heating problem but to just tough it out and wait for spring.
so when this man approached *h asking for help getting warm, it just went straight to his heart. *h opened his wallet and took out whatever cash he had inside. he handed it to the man and said, “hopefully in the merit of me helping you to get warm, God will help my family to get warm too.” and the man thanked him and went inside.
that night, a friend of our family casually asked what was doing with our boiler situation. *h gave him the update and they continued talking about other things. the next morning that man called to let us know that he and his wife had talked, and they wanted to make us an interest-free loan so we could get our heat fixed. out of the blue. *h didn’t ask him for money. we would never have dreamed of asking this family for a loan. we are not super close, and we would have no reason to suspect that they would have access to this amount of money. the repayment terms are ones we can very comfortably live with, and as of friday we have working heat in our home.
it was less than 48 hours since *h opened his wallet for the homeless man.