“So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 7:21 NIV)
It was a few years ago. A friend had sent me a restaurant gift card for Christmas and I had picked a pretty, sunny Sunday afternoon to use it. It felt good taking my two grown sons and daughter to a nice sit-down restaurant instead of the fast food places we usually ate at. The meal was delicious and we all had a good time just being together. When the waitress brought the check I looked down at it. The gift card covered almost all of it. I reached into my wallet to get enough cash to cover the rest. I saw two bills in the front of it. The first would cover the rest of the bill and give the waitress a nice tip. The second bill was much larger so I reached down to pick out the first one.
At that moment my mind flashed back to 30 years before. I was working as a busboy in a restaurant much like the one we were in now. It was long hours of hard work for low pay. I went home just barely making enough to feed my young family. I also remembered how more than once I saw the waitresses counting their meager tips while worrying about how they were going to pay the rent and buy their kids the things they needed. I remembered the pain in their eyes and saw the sadness in their faces at the end of the day.
I blinked and was back in the present again my fingers touching the smaller bill in my wallet. I smiled, pushed it back down, and picked out the much larger bill. I folded it around the gift card and covered both of them with the check. As we all got up from the table I handed them to the hard working waitress. “You keep the change.”, I said with a smile and a happy heart.
We are all one family in this world. We are all children of the same God. We live together, rejoice together, and suffer together. Do your best to be kind then. Do your best to be a good person and loving child of God. Do your best to replace the suffering with joy.
Joseph J. Mazzella