what is truth and what is compassion

Yesterday I met a man wearing the road on his face

long haired and dirty, with a backpack loaded with possesions

he said he was hungry and could I spare some money for him to buy a meal

I declined

I began to drive away, cursing my hardness

that made my schedule

more important than his hunger

and I thought

the guilt of this man’s hunger will

sit like a lead ball on my conscience all day

damn the schedule

I found him

I offered to buy him a meal

he declined

he said “to be honest, I’m full and I don’t want to throw away the food you would buy me”

as I drove away

I reflected on the lessons to be had

what is truth?

what is compassion?

both are murky

neither are easy to give

but grateful that I did not have to bear

his false hunger as a burden

knowing that what drove him to lie

was a life very different from my own

grateful that he shared the truth though it exposed him

as I drove to my beautiful, warm home

and unpacked my many groceries


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