We babysat for our daughter and her husband so they could sneak off for 9 holes of golf this afternoon. Then we met for dinner on the patio of our friendly, casual club.

As the ancient grandparents and exhausted parents chatted, the 4-year-old and 2-year-old cavorted on the adjacent putting green with about 10 colorful golf balls.

We adults took turns standing with them as they rolled balls into the cup, threw them high in the air, lined them up, and basically entertained themselves (and the patio full of diners) for a solid hour.

The 4-year-old decided to roll down the short hill between the patio and the putting green a million times. Pigtails flying, cheeks rosy, laughter tinkling out between each roll . . . carefree childhood at its best.

As we finally sat down for our food, here came a lovely lady in a navy blue dress. She had a darling “Happy Birthday” mylar balloon in the shape of a cupcake. She asked for, and enthusiastically received, permission to give it to the 4-year-old. It was her birthday. But she wanted the young child to have the balloon because she had really enjoyed watching her play.

The little girl’s eye shone. She couldn’t quite believe her good fortune. Smiling, she shyly thanked the lady and carefully tied the ribbon around her favorite stuffed animal, Puppy, so that the balloon wouldn’t fly away.

In the time of covid and riots and looting and political fighting, any chance for a break from dreary reality, to experience the kindness of a stranger “just because,” is a true oasis. We were grateful.

You will not be surprised to find out that the nice lady works as an ICU nurse caring for very sick covid patients. She had it, herself, in June. You could see the stress and fatigue on her face as she expressed concern about the five patients in her unit this weekend.

So giving the balloon and seeing the unfettered joy on that little face was an Rx for stress relief for her, too.

Lord Jesus, make us all people who give unexpected balloons to little children we meet. Make us people who join hands, even if only symbolically because of the virus, with everyone we meet. Make us people who know that we already have the only vaccine that is 100% effective against stress and evil – love. We just need to activate it. Lord, help us do that.

Bless that balloon benefactor, grant healing to her patients, let our thank-you’s echo in her heart all week, and let that precious 4-year-old grow up to be a lady who does kind things like that, all the time, in Your Name, “just because.”  

And be ye kind one to another,

tenderhearted, forgiving one another,

even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

-Ephesians 4:32

By Susan Darst Williams • 8/22/2020 • www.RadiantBeams.org • © 2020