Two strangers accidentally bump shoulders walking in opposite directions down a bustling city street. One, a middle-aged business woman, carries a briefcase; all of the contents now scatter on the cement like newly freed doves. The other walks by not even taking time to realize the impact of his action. A lone man stops. He quickly snatches the papers in an attempt to save them from ruin. He turns to her, and with a simple, “I hope you have a great day,” the woman’s spirits are lifted. I believe in this unconditional love. I believe that there is an obligation deep within our hearts to spread kindness and warmth.
One Sunday, I swallowed a truthful, yet harsh, talk. My youth leader spoke of changing the world, actively pursuing the spread of love through our actions. I became convicted by his words. I have never felt such a desire to devote my time to servitude. However, for some reason, when he suggested church-sponsored community service projects, I had a notion to decline. I knew if I walked in front of the church members and signed up for a project, it would be because they were watching, not because I was being called to aid. It was not for a few days that I learned why I needed to wait.
It was after a family lunch to celebrate my mother’s birthday that I noticed my ninety-two year old widowed grandmother sitting alone, mindlessly watching television. The severity of her situation pressed upon my heart as though I had been placed under a thousand feet of water. This was where I could serve, not because everyone in church was doing it, but to demonstrate love. Twice a month, every other Saturday, I take “Nana” a home-cooked meal and spend a few hours eating, reminiscing, and catching up on the events of her life. I have learned about, among other things, her teaching career, the difficulties of keeping her house a comfortable temperature, and the hardships of being on nine medications. I have truly enjoyed myself.
It was not three hours after my first visit that I received a phone call with a feeble voice on the other end. Nana had called to articulate how delightful it had been to spend the afternoon with me. Again, I felt as if I were dropped into deep waters. But this time, the feeling that consumed me was of complete accomplishment and unrestricted love. Not only do I eat a healthy meal, but I have insightful conversation with an individual with profound knowledge and I am rewarded for it. Just the satisfaction of my grandmother would be enough to keep me coming back, but the sensation of knowing her contentment will keep me returning bearing a smile.
I believe that everyone is capable of affection, and that it should never be suppressed. I believe in small acts of kindness that mean nothing to an innocent passerby. I believe in love.
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