— Ralph Waldo Emerson
What a fascinating thought day I’ve had today! There was some intellectual excitement, emotional excitement, and even a tinge of spiritual excitement. I have a smile on my face just thinking about the day. I’ll share a section of it for the heck of it.
Early evening I went to the grocery store, picked up a few things. This store has a Food For Families program every holiday season and the last two seasons they match your donation in $10 increments. I love that idea of generosity and spirit and have huge respect for this store. So, I gave a $100 donation to get it rolling and that means it was really $200. How wonderful and easy.
Feeling good about that and my purchases, I’m on my way to my truck and I see a man approaching me looking sort of needy. I used to hurry up and get in the vehicle and move along, but nowadays I welcome the opportunity to share a bit more. It doesn’t matter what it is used for, it is the allowing that really matters.
So, he gives me this request for something so he can eat. Fair enough. I reach in my pocket and give him a $20. Sometimes they are excited and impressed, but it didn’t faze this guy! He was grateful, but held in in his hand most of the time we were together. He tells me he is a veteran and asks if I am. He said he was Marines and was in Vietnam. He said he saw a lot of battles and was injured in one in particular and then became a prisoner of war. During this experience, he showed me a scar on his head where he said they were playing games with him with a .32 caliber handgun.
He asked me about my service too. I told him it was Air Force and he asked if I went over and I said that I was only in Dover, Delaware as an auto mechanic. Then he looks at me and says that I have a ‘Christian Glow’ about me and wondered if I went to church. I thought he was giving me some kind of line, but I said that I used to and was a worship leader for a time, and he says, “well, it’s not the church, it’s the heart.” Then, he quoted me scripture. He quoted Matthew 5:8 “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.”
That did it. I could handle all the rest, sharing a bit of military service history, being kind and friendly, but then he goes and quotes scripture in the parking lot of the grocery store. I teared up immediately looked him as intently and lovingly in the eyes as I could, grasped his hand with both of mine and could say nothing further. He thanked me again, said his father was a preacher, and was on his way across the lot. I watched him walk most of the way across the parking lot amazed and grateful to have bumped into him.
It reminded me of this quote by Abraham Josua Heschel: “When I was young, I admired clever people. Now that I am old, I admire kind people.” This was one of the kindest I have met in a long, long time.
“Your Life Is A Series Of Opportunities To Become Yourself.” — Alan Cohen
Spread Some Joy Today–Share your generosity in whatever form that may be. It’s just about kindness, you know.