So, I don’t know how you feel about the Holy Spirit, or how the Divine moves among humanity and all things created. But I know this as truth. Every once in a while, I get this idea or tingling that is far more than an impulsive knee-jerk. There is this action that calls me to look beyond myself and my family and to do something for someone that is unknown to me.
Case in point. Last October, my family traveled to a small beachside town on the Oregon coast. There, we fell in love with a family-owned pizza restaurant. Since we were there on the off-season, the two times we partook in dinner allowed us to have the entire place to ourselves. We felt a love that spoke to us, “Come and make our home your home.” In the southwest we say, “Mi casa is Su casa.”
My wife and I hold a fondness for small local businesses. So while on vacation, like back home, we always try to stick to taking our meals at some local establishment. Suffice it to say, we fell in love with our new-found pizza shack alongside the shores of Oregon.
The other night, while looking at locations for our next get-a-way (after this plague is behind us) my wife and I kept returning to the western coast. We love the Pacific coastline, and we love the small communities that make these locations their year-around homes so that they can serve visitors, like us, who search to make lasting memories.
So the other night my wife said, “Hey honey, do you remember that little pizza restaurant we went to in Oregon?”
My response, “Oh I sure do. We ate there two times, and I bought a baseball cap with their logo.”
My wife edged, “I think we should do something for them.”
Curious I poked, “Oh? Do you mean something like the time we bought meals for those two people celebrating the end of their chemo treatments at the restaurant near home?”
She smiled and replied, “Something like that.”
After a quick Google search for a phone number, I picked up the phone and made a call to the pizza place in Oregon. When someone picked up and said the name of the memorable place, we identified ourselves as previous patrons, and we wanted to do something special. “Was there anyone in line placing an order?”
“No, we’re doing a lot of call-in/online orders during this health crisis. And we’re about to close for the night. We’ll be open on Thursday.”
I told them fine, and we’d be calling back. We contacted the owner on social media and again affirmed our desire to do something for some of their customers and would be calling back later. Although a small amount, my wife and I will be committing to pay for some three to four meals.
We’ve experienced this ourselves when someone unknown to us has picked up the tab when out to lunch or dinner. We’ve come to discover this anonymous joy ourselves to return the favor to someone else.
It doesn’t take a world-wide pandemic to become grateful for others to express generosity. This caring act is something we can do all-the-time. But it has come to mind in these days of distancing that we can say thank you to others who go the distance to make us feel special when we least expect it to occur.
Now don’t get us wrong, this is not something we do willy-nilly. This spark of the moment comes from out of nowhere and calls us to be a part of greater flame of hope that goes beyond a means of doing unto others and becomes that glimmer that I believe marks a touch of the creator’s hand.