This sweet description from Isaiah, written about 2700 years ago, is sheer delight:
"They helped every one his neighbour; and every one said to his brother, Be of good courage".
I was busy working myself through my appointment book of the day, when I paused and remembered my kind husband, having a full day as well. I decided to pass by our favorite falafel place - „Falafel Salam“. We know those guys for many years, and upon me entering this tiny place I met the owner, a wonderful man, a wise man, a Syrian cook. He came towards me and to my surprise said: „I have been so hoping to see you today“. I had not thought about a visit before, not even about falafel - I just wanted to ease my husband’s workload a bit with a delicious, fresh, and quick dinner. We sat down and talked. He confided me in the burden he was feeling whenever his thoughts would move over to Syria, the civil war, the members of his extended family in constant danger. I listened and listened more for meaningful words of comfort. Could I promise that the war would be over soon? That all will be well? That his family was safe? I could listen and did express my heartfelt love and compassion for the entire family. And I did listen some more and parted with a hug. My falafel was ready to go and he insisted it was on the house.
Off I went, home I came, meeting my husband with his falafel and a story. I could stay only a few minutes and had to leave by bicycle to continue with the next item on my list - a meeting, which was attended also by a friend. I remembered how her day had been quite busy and challenging, too, and so I stopped on my way to the meeting at a coffeeshop to order her favorite drink and surprise her. Upon paying the barista smilingly said: „It is on the house, you are our last customer today and a grateful person."
I continued my bicycle ride with my stuff, a sense of wonder, balancing the handlebars and the drink. And reflecting. What happened today? Two incidents of getting something for free. Unexpected. Both involving a simple thought of helping to ease another’s burden. No planning involved, but spontaneity.
The gifts received were enjoyed by others yet I felt as if I am the true presentee.
In Malachi there is this:
„Bring the entire tenth to the storerooms in my temple... Put me to the test,” says the Lord. “Then you will see that I will throw open the windows of heaven. I will pour out so many blessings that you will not have enough room for them."
So unselfed motives and acts are perhaps part of the tenth part of our day - a great investment.
Later I found this beautiful poem by 19th century English writer Elizabeth Charles - and it felt as if I had received live proof of its validity. As if she and we all truly lived in the same universe, the realm of God, where love is law:
True, the heart grows rich in giving;
All its wealth is living grain;
Seeds which mildew in the garner,
Scattered, fill with gold the plain.
Is thy burden hard and heavy?
Do thy steps drag wearily?
Help to bear thy brother's burden,
God will bear both it and thee.
Who is writing?
In my work as Christian Science practitioner and writer I draw on listening to God and listening to people.