An act of kindness returned

The phone rang yesterday morning, saved me from the antagonist in my novel. I’ve been watching his every move this week, listening to his mind, feeling for a shred of goodness in his heart. Writing. Rewriting. Evil people are difficult to understand, distressing to characterize. Sometimes too close to home.
So I was glad for the distraction, hoped the caller was a friend like Sue. She makes me laugh; forget the world has always been a dangerous place. But I don’t have a friend named Beverly, the name with an unknown number. “Hello, this is Iris.”
“I’m calling because I have a job to do for a good friend,” she said in a timorous tone.
“How may I help?”
“Are you a lavender farmer?”
 “My friend’s two-year-old granddaughter has…” Beverly wavered. “Leukemia.”
My stomach sickened at the flashback of my third-born baby in Beaumont’s intensive care, cries in the night from terminally ill children. Diseases. Invisible enemies.
Beverly apologized and composed herself. “The baby loves the scent of lavender. My friend has been looking for something soft with lavender to comfort her.”
Thankfully, I found two yellow cotton chicks in the bottom of the glass jar that holds what was left of lavender sachets from my farm’s gift shop. “The chicks are the size of a toddler’s hand,” I said.
“Perfect. I’ll take them, thank you.”
I addressed a manila envelope to Beverly, sealed the two lavender chicks inside before we said good-bye, and went back to work.
After wrestling several hours with my story’s bad guy, I’d had enough and left the house for a stroll to clear my mind. Dear Reader, you know a person with eyes to see can’t resist the residue of a winter sunset. There’s healing in the evaporation of those orange ribbons in the frigid sky. Have mercy, God, I prayed. We are broken, needy people.
This morning I woke with Beverly on my mind, relieved I hadn’t mailed the chicks, and went straight to the sachet jar. Glory be! I found three of my favorite lacy sachets in good shape. One for Beverly, her friend, and the baby’s mother.
In the broad scope of human suffering, such a gesture seems futile, even ridiculous. Yet, my baby sister mailed me a card after my firstborn passed that simply said “I love you, I’m sorry” three times. The spirit of those words carried me until the next act of kindness extended another bridge to hope and healing, the courage to trust God again.
From childhood, I’ve anchored my faith in Romans 8:28: “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them called according to his purpose.” This Scripture seemed like a cruel joke nineteen years ago when we buried our daughter. Death, our abiding opponent, mocked God in my sorrow.
I believe we walk this earth for a purpose, one tested and proven. Be not afraid. This is our Father’s world. And He loves us.