Last week I wrote about a cheap fry pan that my family has been using, much to our dismay, for a while now that inevitably burns either the food we’re cooking or the person cooking the food itself. I used the opportunity of that essay to illustrate how some “things” in our lives might seem worth it, but are, instead, in fact, detrimental to our well-beings.
A few days after the essay went up, a package arrived, with no indicia of sender. This is what we discovered inside:
Yep, that’s a brand new fry pan. Cast iron, made in the USA, and perfectly awesome.
But who sent it?
I initially suspected my all-too-generous mom. She regularly uses her skills of observation alongside her giving spirit to make others happy, but when I spoke to her after the new fry pan arrived, she didn’t ask a coy question like, “Anything interesting arrive in the mail recently?”
A couple of days later, a dear friend from out of state called me. We talked for a while and toward the end of our conversation, she asked whether the fry pan had arrived.
“It was you?” I asked, not so much out of shock, for she, too, is like my mom with regards to her thoughtfulness, but more so because this friend has been undergoing a lot of life-changing and difficult challenges of her own. And yet, here she had read my essay, taken the time to find a replacement (really more of a huge upgrade), purchased it, and then sent it off.
Since I was young, I was taught, primarily by my mom, that when things are going rough for me, the best way to feel better is to do something kind for someone else. I believe in this practice and try to find opportunities to wield kindness toward others when I am downtrodden.
While it’s nice to do something thoughtful when all is going well, it is heroic to do something generous when things are not “perfect” in one’s life.
The mystery fry pan was the exemplification of that selfless practice, a practice that not only benefits the receiver but also helps the sender.
May we all find the strength to be that selfless sender, especially on those days that challenge our hearts.