The Swirl

by | Oct 31, 2023 | Gentleness, God's Love, Goodness

One of my happy places is my favourite coffee shop. The baristas there know not only my name, but also my regular order: a twelve-ounce, half-sweet, cardamom latte in a mug. I love to have my latte in a mug because I can then admire and enjoy the swirling coffee art — the design in the foam that caps the delicious steaming beverage. Baristas have a fast-paced job, often serving a line of impatient customers, so I always appreciate the added touch of care evidenced by the time and attention needed to create the coffee art design. It’s even better when they pair their coffee art with the season — a leaf shape in autumn, a Christmas tree in December, a blossom in spring, and so on. It never fails to bring a smile when I say “thank you” to my harried barista.

Noting and appreciating small gestures of thoughtfulness and kindness is a small thing that helps lubricate the rough edges of life. It costs nothing and reaps a worthwhile reward.

Interestingly, the flip side of this, namely, not complaining about small irritants, is an equally powerful lubricant to help things run more smoothly.

Here is an example from my own daily life. I live in a 55+ condo community — which often brings tests of patience under the best of conditions. Mealtime here seems to bring out the worst in people as they murmur and complain about every meal — even though we know that it is impossible to please all of the people all of the time.

Community living such as ours brings with it other challenges. The age range of our residents automatically puts our facility into the high-risk category for COVID-19. We had three or four COVID cases here this summer, which resulted in the return of onerous restrictions. The aftermath was a flood of complaints, none of which improved or changed the situation, of course. Recognizing that one complaint often triggers another, whether in the dining room or in talking to a neighbour, I often try to help counterbalance the flow by expressing appreciation for something instead.

A kind, gentle word helps to sweeten life that could otherwise be marred by grumbling and mumbling. More appreciation for small favours and pleasures paired with more grace and tolerance for small irritants are two ways to show love for others.

“Yes indeed, it is good when you obey the royal law as found in the Scriptures: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'” (James 2:8  NLT)

To think about: How can we turn a grumbling frown into an appreciative smile, thus brightening everyone’s day?

Prayer: Dear Father, it is so easy to focus on our own needs and desires rather than considering good for others around us. Give us eyes to see opportunities for speaking a word of encouragement or showing grace to someone else, thus enlarging our own heart of compassion. May we show to others the love that You show to us. Amen.

Copyright © 2021, by Gail Lundquist <>, first published on the PresbyCan Daily Devotional .
Beaverton, Oregon, USA


The Swirl