I turned the calendar page from March to April and allergies hit me like a 90 mph fastball in a catcher’s glove.
For those of you who, like me, suffer from seasonal allergies, you know the drill. The henbit pops up in the fields, a visually-appealing but deceptive purple carpet that’s prone to leave me sniffling and sneezing. Add in the smoke from the controlled burns this time year, and you’d think by my tears I’d been chopping onions all day.
This year, when the calendar hit April, I felt the slightest scratch in my throat, just in time for me to hop on a plane for a work trip to New Mexico. I’m generally not a fan of flying, and the thought of flying with congestion wasn’t all that appealing. I called the pharmacy to proactively fill a script and hopped on the plane.
A few days later, I was miserable. Sneezes for days, runny nose, an annoying cough. The works. I’m still not sure whether to blame the New Mexico pollens or the common cold for the inconvenience.
One night, after a particularly miserable day, I happened to mention how nice a cup of tea would feel on my throat, and a complete stranger, who had overheard my lament, spoke up. She always travels with tea, she told me, as she offered me two bags of medicinal tea and a packet of Emergen-C.
The herbal tea soothed my scratchy throat that night, and the next morning, the Emergen-C fizzed as I tossed it in a glass of water at breakfast. The amazing thing was, I soon felt nearly 100 percent better.
No longer bothered by coughing or congestion, I found the woman and expressed my thanks. Her generous act of kindness stuck with me. She heard about my need and did something about it, sharing what she had with me. Just like the woman at the baseball game last Friday who saw me shivering behind home plate and offered a blanket.
Simple gestures, but so meaningful.
In Jen Wilkin’s “In His Image,” she writes, “Scarcity has a way of revealing our true understanding of the Golden Rule.” How often am I equipped to help someone in need, but instead of doing the generous thing, I hold on to the excess in fear I won’t have enough. That’s pretty selfish.
I’ve been pondering lately what it would look like to abandon my concern for my own needs and seek to meet the needs of others, in love. To live a life of open hands, not clenched fists, and giving as I am able.
Before I left New Mexico, I took a picture with the lady who gave me the tea. It’s a reminder to look beyond myself and see those around me.
And when I got back? I stocked up on tea and Emergen-C for my next trip. I won’t be flying without it.