Day 14: PEACE in a cup of coffee...


Well, I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again. It is really hard to “do” peace. So, I am not sorry that this is the last day of the week. Having said that, I really have decided that I can do peace by doing acts of kindness.

So, today, at my local coffee shop, I “paid it forward”. That is, after paying for my coffee, I handed the barista a $10 bill, and told her to use it to pay for the coffee order of the guy standing in line behind me. And I told her to keep the rest for the tip jar. A real act of kindness, meant to give the recipient and the giver an all-round feeling of peace.

The barista was wildly grateful, which I sure appreciated. When the guy found out that I had paid for his drink, he looked over at me and said, “Thank you.” That’s it. No pat on the back, no gushing pronouncements of appreciation. In fact, I walked past him a few times that morning, on my way to getting a refill of coffee. He could have said something, smiled at me, wished me a “Merry Christmas”. He didn’t.

Which did not, in fact, give me a feeling of PEACE. No, it was a feeling of annoyance. I wanted to rewind the scene and pay for a coffee for someone who really recognized a gift when he saw one, and knew what to do with it (as in thank me profusely).

Then I realized, we don’t do acts of kindness for what we get in return. As my therapist used to say, “We are responsible for the effort, not the outcome.” So, I would like to think that this guy will pay the kindness forward, thereby spreading peace forward, which would in turn spread peace throughout the land.  

But maybe not. Maybe he saw it as a kind gesture, and that was all. Or maybe he has trouble expressing gratitude. Or maybe he was having a bad day. Could be he was shy. 

No matter, this giver knows she was spreading kindness and generosity, and that in turn leads to a sort of PEACE.