When I was 14/15 and living in Honduras, I knew a man named Amilcar. When I met Amilcar, he was about 40 years old and he was a professional drunkard. He went pro sometime in his teens and planned to never retire. He had some form of diabetes, and had an open wound on his leg that was rotting. Gangrene had set in, and though he could barely walk on it, he continued to spend any money that came his way on alcohol. I never once saw him hungover. He was either drunk, or passed out unconscious in the street. He would awaken, defecate in the ditch, and fall over into his own feces, and pass out again. He would holler when he came by our house, and was an annoyance to the entire aldea.
One day, he came to the house and asked me for money. Cash. He insisted he needed money so he could get help for his leg because someone told him they would soon need to amputate it. At 14/15, I had no money. I told him that if he would quit drinking, I would help him with his leg. He agreed.
I put him up on our porch, with a blanket and pillows, water to drink, and beans and rice and tortillas to eat. For two weeks. I'm not sure what possessed my parents that they allowed me to do it, but I am blessed that they did.
Every single day for two weeks, I would debride and clean Amilcar's rotting leg. Once in the morning, and once at night. All I had was gauze and some hand soap that had been donated by USAID or something to a nearby donation center. (to this Dady, I can detect this hand soap in public restrooms--it's the pink liquid soap that I'm sure you've used before. I absolutely cannot use it.) I also had local herbs and spices, and prayer. None of which I knew how to use very well, at 14/15.
Every morning and evening I would change the dressing, and debride and clean his wound. Amilcar slept and lived on our porch. He didn't drink a single drop of alcohol. He and I were in it together, and I matched his determination and resilience with my own. By the end of the two weeks, his leg was no longer rotting, the gangrene had disappeared and his leg was HEALING. New flesh had grown and begun to scab and seal the wound (that now bled instead of slimed and oozed.) New skin was forming, beautiful pink fleshy skin.
Amilcar remained sober and became a model citizen. People who had known him his entire life barely recognized him. He shared with me that he started drinking when he was a boy. His dad took Amilcar to the bar when he went to drink and play pool. While he was playing pool, he left Amilcar with the prostitutes at the counter to babysit him. The prostitutes would get him drunk, and began to molest him when he was older. Amilcar had never quit drinking. People who had known him all his life had never seen him sober. (there may have been once for a couple of days after being in the hospital, I'm not trying to exaggerate.)
...until he opened himself up to receiving what he needed, without demanding it come in the form of money. God used a 15 yr old girl to help bring more to this 40 year old drunkard than money ever would have been able to.
Amilcar would visit often and was able to get various jobs, and even began a relationship with a woman. His determination and desire to save his leg, saved his life.
It gave him a chance to live, and he was able to experience abundance in ways he never had been able to before. He was emboldened to share his story with me, something he'd never told anyone before. And he shared it with others who were encouraged by his story and he changed their lives forever. He became very beloved by the community.
I'm so grateful I did not limit the ways I could support Amilcar in his desire by thinking that because I had no money, I had nothing to offer. And I'm glad that Amilcar was willing to take a risk with a 15 year old gringa who had no money.
Sadly, after over ten years of living sober, Amilcar went back to the bottle after his girlfriend dumped him. He was run over in the street by a bus as he lay passed out, and died. I wish that wasn't the end of the story. But I don't regret for a. moment the time, and patience, and tears, and love, and compassion I invested in Amilcar.
I hope this story from my adolescence encourages you to open yourself up to receive everything you need, perhaps to the extent of completely changing your life, without it needing to come in the form of cash (every time.)
And there is certainly nothing wrong with cash, either. These were just some thoughts floating in my head today as I lay here enjoying my new fireplace. Somehow I thought of Amilcar, and the conversation he and I would have in my porch as I scrubbed his rotting leg.
I possibly distracted you from my thoughts around wealth and money with the story. It can be difficult for me to know how to convey what I'm thinking without giving some of the story that either prompts or attributes to my thought process.
I know my unique life experiences really have so much to do with the way I see the world and how I think and process, the questions I ask. This is the beauty in owning our stories, there's so much wisdom in our experiences that others can benefit from.
I'm curious about your thoughts and feelings or beliefs around money, and what this conversation stirs up within you. Let's talk about it. Share your heart with me.