'Twas a strange night in Old Sydney Town tonight - and particularly ironic considering the uncompromising post I wrote yesterday.
When I got back to my home tonight at about half-past six I was told that there had break and enter in the building. Not exactly the kind of thing you want to hear when you've been living in a place for less than two weeks. The guy who was talking to me suggested that I should have a careful look inside my room, just to check that nothing had been stolen. My response? I basically said: "Oh well, there's not really anything of value to steal in my room". Upon reflection this isn't true, strictly speaking. For instance, the computer and modem set me back $150 - that would be truly devastating to lose. Perhaps the microwave I have could fetch up to $50 on the black market. I also have some books in my bookcase - what any thief would wish to do with a set of College of Law textbooks is beyond me, although on reflection the particular volume on Criminal Law might come in handy sometime. Finally, there's the single most financially valuable item in my room - my suit. If however the thief wanted to take that for a job interview and make an honest living for himself, then I guess I wouldn't be too unhappy.
Anyway, I got hungry later in the evening and went to World Square to pick up some food for the next few nights. When I got back there was a homeless man sitting in front of the door to my building who looked like he was under the influence of something or another. He asked me if I had any money I could give him. Since I had just been to the shops and had some loose change, I reached for my pocket, but as I engaged him in conversation and asked him what he had been doing with himself that evening he replied: "I've been smacking some bitches around". Anyone who knows me reasonably well will know that I absolutely abhor violence in all of its forms, so I instinctly took my hand out of my pocket and proceeded to walk into the building. He asked me again whether I had "any dosh", to which I replied "Not tonight, mate" and walked into the building.
After I got back into the room I felt guilty about the way that I had acted. Sure he had said what he said, but he was so far out of it that I suspected on second thought that was simply talking rubbish. And even if he wasn't, this didn't change the fact that he still needed help. So I decided to make up one of the macaroni and cheese snacks that I had bought, go back downstairs and offer it to him. I did that and he gratefully accepted my offer. However, he again asked me for money, this time telling me that he needed it for beer or wine. While I appreciated his honesty, I had felt like I had done enough and decided not to give him any money. I then returned back upstairs to my simple, although unmistakably middle-class existence.
I must admit, I'm not entirely sure whether I did the right thing throughout - it's sometimes hard to know these things. And truth be known, I probably could have done more than offer him a miserable cup of macaroni and cheese. But I guess at least my conscience propelled me to do something and that can't be entirely bad. I tend to think that it won't be the last time I have to think about this issue. I guess I need to pray that God will give me wisdom in such situations.