Ice Cream and Almsgiving

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ice cream cone

It’s been a tough week at my house. My husband and I have been stressed about work and bills, and every member of the family has had the flu. High fevers, coughing fits, runny noses, the works. My kids have been waking up in the middle of the night, so nobody has been getting any sleep. And the house is a mess, because little fussy babies with sippy cups have been spilling their juice all over the floor.┬áBy today, we were all in pretty bad moods. The kids had cabin fever and were quarreling with each other over toys, but still felt too sick to play outside or go to church.

“We just wanted to bless our friends.”

So it was kind of a miracle when our friend and neighbor showed up unannounced at our back door after dinner. In her arms she carried a cardboard box full of ice cream cartons. She smiled and told our oldest son (who answered the door) that he could pick whichever flavor he liked. I was so happy to see her. She looked radiant next to our washed out faces, and her presence felt like a harbinger of good news (though she had no idea we’d been having a hard week)

I said, “Why are you bringing people ice cream?”

This was her answer: “We just wanted to bless our friends. We were at the supermarket and we thought, ‘Why not buy eight gallons of ice cream and bring them to all our friends.'”

I don’t know if it was a random act of kindness, or a form of Lenten almsgiving, but whatever it was, I felt visited by a good spirit: lightened, encouraged, blessed. Before the 40 days are over I’m thinking we should imitate her example, and do the same.

Anna Keating