I noted a few police cars in the gas station parking lot as I drove up, but the officers were gathered outside, and nothing seemed amiss, so I pulled up to the pump. After reaching over to grab my card from my wallet, I turned to find an officer at my window. A few thoughts ran through my head, not the least of which was, “This gas station was just robbed and he’s going to tell me I need to leave right away.” Funny, what unexpected moments will do to your mind.
Instead, the officer introduced himself and another officer, and proceeded to ask if he could pump $20 of gas for me. He went on to explain that they were just trying to spread some unexpected goodwill and cheer in our town.
At first I almost said no, feeling guilty that I could afford the gas and thinking someone else should receive the blessing. And then I remembered the nature of a blessing and considered all of the “random” reasons I ended up at this particular gas station on this particular day. By now, the officer was already pumping my gas and another car was being filled up by another officer behind mine.
It isn’t hard to spread Christmas cheer if you think about it.
At this point, the mayor walked up to snap a photo and I congratulated her on winning the recent election, to which she replied something lovely about what an honor it is to serve our town and how much she loves this place we’re lucky to call home. Warm fuzzies all around, I tell you. What’s more though, she remarked (my paraphrase) that it’s a tough time to be in law enforcement these days, and indicated that this was a great opportunity to bridge the gap between officers and the community.
How true it is, that these men and women who serve us so selflessly day in and day out have a harder job than ever before. Not just for today, but for everyday, I am so thankful for their service and for the sacrifices they and their families make to keep ours safe.
By now, the kiddos were begging for me to put the window down so they could talk to the “police officer!” who proceeded to engage them and hand out stickers and say the very nicest things. Just…wow.
After thank you’s all around, we drove away–Henry and Eloise with so many exclamations and questions, and me in the front seat, almost in tears. It wasn’t the fill up that moved me so much, but the gesture at all.
I guess we all need reminders of goodwill and hope these days, even if we don’t realize it.
This afternoon, Henry played police officer and handed out stickers to Eloise and me, talking about how he would keep us safe and how he just wanted to do something nice for the people in his town. “This,” I thought to myself as we played it out, “is graceful December if I’ve ever seen it.”
It only takes one simple thing to impact someone’s day, to alter someone’s December, to usher in a more graceful holiday season. No doubt I’m asking myself tonight what my one simple thing might be. I think Henry and Eloise are, too.
‘Tis the season, my friends. The season for meeting needs–silent and spoken, physical and emotional, spiritual and material. This doesn’t have to require money or vast amounts of time, but it does beg us to offer up intention and heart.
What does it look like for us to impact others for good in simple ways, at the holidays and all year through?
Let’s each commit together to choosing one simple thing between now and next Friday, could we? Just think of how catching and beautiful it might be…
It’s a graceful December, indeed!