Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.1 Corinthians 13:4 NIV
Entering the ice cream parlor, my husband and I took our place in line and eagerly examined the menu of flavors. Indulging in an ice cream cone at the beach is high on my priority list. Something about the sand, surf, and sun melt away concerns about calories and fat.
By the time the little girl in front of us accepted her heaping cone, we knew what we wanted. Then the child’s chocolate ice cream tumbled to the floor, and her look of delight turned to horror.
Before anyone else could react, the shop owner turned her attention to the child, quickly filled another cone, and turned it upside-down in a cup. Without a word, the owner handed it to the teary-eyed girl with the briefest of smiles.
The child’s face lit up like the morning sky as she clutched the cup with both hands. Her mom offered profuse thanks and payment, but the woman brushed them off. She clearly wasn’t looking for compliments or praise.
“Next?” she called.
I left the ice cream shop awed, but not because of the creamy goodness in my hand. Patience. Grace. Love. Forgiveness. The busy shop owner displayed them all. She didn’t sigh or roll her eyes because of the mess on her floor. She wasn’t flustered by the line of impatient customers awaiting service. She didn’t seek recognition for her response. She simply loved as Jesus loves. He is all-forgiving, compassionate, and loves us beyond measure.
This angel’s actions sparked a warmth in my chest. I felt connected to the crowd of humanity around me and wanted to help someone. We know about the ripple effect of kindness. When someone is kind to us, we’re likely to pass it on; and likewise, when we perform a kind act for another that person is likely to pay it forward, too.
But I felt a warm glow by merely witnessing kindness. Psychologists have identified this feeling as elation. Studies show that witnessing love in action triggers additional acts of compassion. Thus, a three-way ripple effect, involving the receiver, the giver, and the bystander who happens to see it[i], is created.
The elation I experienced turned my eyes outward in search of one who needed help or encouragement.
Father, thank You for spiritually blessing me through the woman in the ice cream shop. I glimpsed You in her. Open my eyes today to opportunities to show someone Your loving kindness. Maybe a bystander witnessing the act will start another ripple by sending Your love into a hurting world.Indulging in an ice cream cone at the beach is high on my priority list. Something about the sand, surf, and sun melt away concerns about calories and fat. #grace #compassion #elation #rippleeffect Click To Tweet
[i] Taylor, Steve, Ph.D. “Elation: The Amazing Effect of Witnessing Acts of Kindness” Psychology Today. Nov. 15, 2013.
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