So it’s Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving. I am hanging out down by the beach with my family. It’s raining this morning and we decided that we would make a journey down the street to the Longboarder Café. It’s a newer place with surf videos on the T.V.’s and great food. I really like the atmosphere.
We were half drenched with smiles on our faces, laughing, and just enjoying one another as we sloshed our way into the cafe. We splurged and let the kids get hot chocolates and French toast. The coffee was nice and hot and the picture of my family before me warmed my soul. I was feeling particularly blessed and overflowing with thankfulness to God for my family.
Just about this time, three young Marines walked in the door. I must be getting old because these Marines looked like little kids to me. They weren’t in uniform, but Marines are easy to spot. These three seemed a more polite and a dressed a little more respectfully than your typical 18-22 year old male. As I was observing them, I suddenly had a flood of memories of being a young kid in the military being away from my home where friends and family are. These times of loneliness are hard to explain, but those who have been there, know exactly what I'm saying. I know these three guys are buddies and will be for life, but there is something about these holiday weekends that makes you yearn for home.
This morning I was reminded of the sacrifice many young men and women are making today around the world as they celebrate Thanksgiving alone. I don’t have access to all of them, but I had these three right in front of me. As they sat down, I looked towards my wife and said, “I think we should pay for their breakfast.” She agreed. As the waiter came and took our order, I told him that I would like to pay the bill for the three men across the way. He looked a little surprised and said, “Really?” I nodded and he walked away thinking that was really cool.
When we finished eating the waiter came with our tab and double-checked that we still wanted to pay their bill. He then asked if I wanted to send them a message. I said, “Just tell them we are thankful for their service.” I was trying to figure the tip when all three of the Marines walked up to our table, looked me in the eye, shook my hand, and said, “Thank you. That’s really cool. It means a lot.” I just thanked them and held back all my Navy banter.
Walking home my oldest daughter asked me why the guys came up to us. I shared with her how the Bible says it’s better to give than to receive. We talked about how these young guys were away from the family for Thanksgiving because they are protecting us. I shared with her that God had blessed us and we were thankful for their service so we bought their breakfast to express our gratitude. She thought that was really cool.
I encourage you to look for opportunities that you can express a random act of kindness. You think you are blessing the other person, but I guarantee you will walk away super blessed!