A Secret Gift
Yesterday, during worship service, a young woman in another section and a few rows up, began having a coughing fit. She tried to stifle the sudden, sharp expelling of air from her lungs but her body convulsed with each suppression.
I’ve been there. Sometimes those coughing fits come on so quickly and violently you’re at a loss at what to do. You don’t want to cause a scene, disturb everyone by getting up and excusing yourself but you also don’t want to continue being a major distraction. I watched her weighing the options when the small, frail hand of an elderly lady reached across the aisle and handed her a piece of candy. It wasn’t done in an exasperated thrust or with the roll of an eye or an exaggerated sigh. She gently and surreptitiously extended the soothing lozenge, they exchanged smiles and the young woman accepted the gift. A simple act and beautiful acceptance.
I’ve thought about this scene several times since yesterday. Too often, those in need are embarrassed, shamed, forced to find help, go through great lengths and navigate many obstacles to find assistance. Folks with hurts, habits, hangups and shortcomings are looked down upon, cause frustration for “those who have it all together,” know how to behave, can take care of themselves. The “haves” begrudgingly give to the “have-nots” and make sure many are aware of their feigned and forced magnanimity.
To be aware of the need of others, to give secretly, to aid not for recognition or reimbursement but because we can is true generosity wrapped in lavish grace.