We have made our way to Boston, and it's the first time in a couple years that Petunia has found herself in such a large, bustling metropolis.
While we were all taking in the sights and learning a lot about our nation's early history, Petunia turned the tables and taught us a lesson, too.
As we were making our way down one city block, she slowed down and looked up at us. "I want to go see if that man needs food. The one huddled up in the corner."
Mark and I looked at each other. We did have a destination and something of a schedule. Should we backtrack to go see if this man on the street is hungry? Even though Boston, New York, and Washington, DC are all on our itinerary and we'll run into more and more people on the street?
The answer was absolutely yes. Petunia's sweet heart felt compassion for someone that she thought needed help and we wanted to honor and nourish that reaction instead of ignore it. We were about half a city block past him by this point and there was a small cafe on the corner. We knew we could get some food easily if he was hungry, so now all we had to do was find out.
I walked Petunia up to him so she could ask. We almost thought he had fallen asleep, as his eyes were closed when we approached. We stood there just a moment and he suddenly opened his eyes. I said, Hello, and then Petunia asked him, "Would you like some soup?"
He told us that he had just gotten some food and had eaten plenty, so that he was fine but thanked us kindly.
As we were all walking away, Petunia told us she felt better that we had asked and now that she could know he wasn't hungry. There was a real joy in her face just from having gotten to make the offer.
Although we saw many buildings, learned many dates, and heard interesting historical facts as we strove to teach Petunia the history of Boston, I believe she taught the best lesson of the day. Have eyes that see everyone, and offer to help others when you can.
She wasn't overwhelmed at the thought of thousands of homeless people. She just saw one man who might have been hungry and offered what she could do for one person.
I am only one,
But still I am one.
I cannot do everything,
But still I can do something;
And because I cannot do everything,
I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.
-Edward Everett Hale