There are no seats the driver warned. Not wanting to inconvenience the person I was meeting I decided to board anyway. I no sooner planted my wobbly legs as stiff pillars on the rocking bus floor when a lovely young woman offered her seat. To spend the trip asking many good angels to bless and bring extra sunshine on her day I asked her first name. "Jackie" she said with a smile. Her kind deed did not and will not end with sundown today. As all good deeds the kindness she showed me added a good feeling to my heart which added conviction to my good wishes to all I met during the day. As tomorrow dawns I will again think of Jackie's kindness with a warm feeling. I will remember to pay it forward to others, and will remember it for a long time.
We must never underestimate a good deed. It balances the amount of good, true, beautiful and loving in the world. These are qualities which counter the amount of sadness, evil, brutality and ugliness that are also part of life. It costs nothing to add to the beautiful and good. Sometimes a simple smile will do. We must remember that the person at the check out counter is not part of the machinery. How much they appreciate a smile and a kind word. Perhaps we can pay a sincere compliment about efficiency or neatness. We can be patient when there are difficulties or accidents... a great gift when there is a mounting tension.
There were many beggars sitting along the streets of Rome when I lived there. I put aside a particular coin for these poor people and kept a supply in an easily accessible pocket to distribute them. One day ahead of me I saw a Religious Sister of the order of Charles Foucould. She did not drop a coin into a box. She bent down and started a conversation with the poor woman holding a sad child. A moment later she went into a bar and came out with a capaccino in a cup and a lollipop for the child.
Yesterday's Gospel reading tells us Jesus counts as done for him what we do in kindness for others. I wonder how he enjoyed that coffee and lollipop. I know he was pleased to sit down on that croweded bus this morning... thanks to Jackie. May he reward her and those she loves for years to come.