Friday, April 13, 2007

A Gentle Day

Peace pervaded my day today. I don't know whether it was because it was Friday, or because I actually got to bed before midnight last night and was well rested, but it felt good. I felt as though I was moving calmly and purposefully through the tasks at hand--with no pressure, just accomplishing things one by one. My office was peaceful and quiet--the phone hardly rang and there were few emails--perhaps because several of my team were at training. And I knew they'd be having a wonderfully inspiring day.

I left work for the day in the early afternoon, taking some lieu time in order to have lunch with a friend. As we left the restaurant and headed for my car, the biting cold wind blasted us. A windswept man approached us, clutching a clipboard full of pages that were flapping madly in the gusts of wind. He was slightly disheveled--and in his early sixties I would have guessed. "Would you like to sponsor me in a walk for MS research?" he asked. As it became evident what his mission was, my friend gathered her coat more tightly against the wind and walked towards the car--giving a clear body language message--"No thanks."

I asked if it was a registered charity and he said, "Oh yes, of course."

I said, "Yes, I'll make a donation," and pulled out a bill from my purse and gave it to him, then wrote out my address for a receipt as he steadied his clipboard against the battering wind. I asked him if he knew anyone with MS and he said that actually he did--that someone with the cottage across from theirs had it. I was thinking of another friend of mine who is praying that tests will come back negative for the disease.

As I got into my car though, my friend said (probably wisely) that she would never hand over money like that and that she's very careful what charities she supports. I wondered if I'd been impulsive and foolish, handing over money to a stranger with a clipboard, but then I felt an assurance that no, it had been the right thing to do--that even if he had taken advantage of me--that didn't matter. Again, the peace I'd felt in the morning, continued with me.

I drove my friend to her home, dropped her off and headed to my next stop--a flower shop to order flowers for the memorial service tomorrow of another dear friend. I ordered two floral arrangements--one from our family, and one from the ministry for which I work--where she volunteered and was a special friend to people with disabilities. I also picked up three sympathy cards as the clerk made the arrangements for the flowers. She asked about the person they were for as she worked. She had to ring the flowers in on two different credit cards--and she asked if she could do the sympathy cards seperately to the flowers since they weren't part of the delivery to the church. I said, "No problem, I can pay cash for them."

She rang them in and said, "That's ten twenty six, but don't bother about the change," I was thanking her, when a strange look crossed her face and she said, slightly embarrassed, "You know, don't bother about any of it, just take the cards."

I said, "Really? Are you sure?"

And she said, "Yes, you're doing a good thing with the work you do--and she must have been a wonderful person to volunteer like she did."

As I thanked her for her kind gesture, I assured her that all of us who do our work consider ourselves to be the blessed ones, the peace I'd felt all day--the gentleness--the kindness of God wrapped itself around me like a warm cloak. I walked back out into the chilly air outside to continue my last errands before heading home--on the inside I felt very, very warm. Kindness seemed to be spreading like a ripple on a pond. My final stop was at the IGA, where, as I was leaving, I bought Girl Guide cookies, telling the young girl selling them, "You realize I'm addicted to these things?" I ate the entire vanilla section on the way home--but I saved the chocolate (which I don't prefer) for Paul!

1 Corinthians 10:31 (New International Version)
31So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.

Well, I think God is smiling.


Dave Hingsburger said...

I thought of you several times while at the conference, missing you and thinking that you'd have enjoyed the day. But, now, reading this I'm glad you had the day you did. A day that affirmed gentleness and kindness is a beautiful day indeed. Lovely post.

Brenda said...

Belinda,you ate the whole row of vanilla cookies!? That proves you are human!

Brenda said...

p.s. I would have done the same. :)

Belinda said...

Yes! I thought that I might be coming across as a tad saintly and it was important to tell the truth--the whole truth! :) Well, almost--there's more, as people who know me well could confirm! :)