I hesitate to write posts like this because it could come across as blowing my own horn and I hate to come across that way. So, before you go any further, understand that is not my intent. Instead, what I want to do with this post is to plant a seed and see if it might grow.
Today was an interesting day. I woke up far too early. 5:11 to be exact. I read the paper, I surfed the internet a bit and then tried to get back to sleep, but couldn’t. We’re in the middle of a major renovation to our front yard and I needed to get some work done on that. So, around 8:00 or so, I went into the front yard and worked on some weeding and thinning out of some plants. I then went into the backyard and mowed the lawn, fixed something with the pool, waited for my kid to wake up to get some other things done and then was ready to shower and move on to lunch when I decided I had time for a run.
So, I went for a 3.5 mile run, came back and showered. Had lunch. Relaxed for the afternoon. Finished reading The Milagro Beanfield War. Watched back to back to back to back to back episodes of Tiny House Hunters — a show about people looking for tiny houses and the choices they make in selecting one. Side note: this is a dream of mine, to live in a tiny house, that will most likely never be realized. So, I was equally fascinated and disappointed while I sat there and read Milagro and watched the show.
As the afternoon went along, the Queen Midget returned from some errands and we eventually made our way to dinner, during which she expressed an interest in a scoop of ice cream. I suggested that rather than spending $4.50 on a single scoop at some local ice cream shop, we could stop at Rite Aid and get some of the ol’ Thrifty brand ice cream. For $3.00 for an entire half gallon. Yes, I can be cheap, but the reality is their ice cream isn’t bad and there is a particular option there that I really like. Chocolate Malted Crunch.
We paid our bill and made our way to Rite Aid. I got my Chocolate Malted Crunch, she got her Mocha something or other. And while we pondered our options, an older woman came up and desperately looked for Cotton Candy. She couldn’t find it and began to walk away. Queen Midget decided to look to make sure it wasn’t hiding behind something and she found four cartons of Cotton Candy ice cream and called the woman over. I reached in and grabbed a carton for her. Asked her if she wanted two. She said sure. Apparently it is her grandson’s favorite flavor. I got another carton out for her and asked her if she wanted the rest — two more cartons. She chose not to but she was so incredibly thankful for the idea that we had stopped and took the time to look for her preferred flavor.
We walked to the cash registers and the woman followed behind us. As we were called to the register, I turned to the woman and asked her if I could have her ice cream. Before she could stop and wonder what I was doing, I took the two cartons out of her hands and walked to the register, when it became clear to her I was going to pay for her ice cream. Again, she was so incredibly thankful. Blessing us and throwing out a reference to Jesus and she was just so giddy at the whole thing.
And I ask … what if more people did things like this. Not every day, maybe not even every week, but in those rare moments when you are afforded an opportunity to do a small and unexpected favor for somebody. To provide them with a little sunlight. A little love. A little bit of caring. What if … we all stopped and took those opportunities and spread that feeling. Would the world be a better place?
Here’s my challenge … go do it. Tomorrow or during the week, take the chance and do something for a stranger. Take a small step towards creating a community of giving and caring and coming together.
One of the reasons this means so much to me is because my day started with reading a comment threat on a community website where people were talking about Halloween decorations in the neighborhood. The commenters were generally divided into two categories. Those who think they should be able to decorate their homes however they want — if they want to make it scary and obscene than the little kids be damned that’s their right. One commenter even suggested that if somebody wants to have a display that includes an Obama figure swinging from a noose, that’s their right. And the other group were those who thought that their standards of acceptability are what everybody should follow. And I wonder how we’ll ever get away from this world of indifference and intolerance that seems to be overtaking us. Maybe, it’s time for us to recognize a different approach. Go buy some ice cream for somebody this week. It’ll put a smile on their face. And on yours as well.