Finding joy in an unexpected gift of pastry

March 11, 2013 | Uncategorized

Have you ever felt the urge to do something totally spontaneous and generous for someone but then pulled back at the last minute for any number of “logical” reasons — too expensive, too complicated, too time-consuming, too something. I know I’ve been there. So many times I’ve had a great idea but never followed through, usually because I let the responsibilities of life overwhelm me and become my excuse.

I’ve been on the receiving end of such generosity in the past. I’ve been blessed with personal, hand-written notes of encouragement for no particular reason, handmade pottery when it’s not my birthday or Christmas, a care package of soup and tea and honey when I was under the weather. And always, always, always I have felt so grateful and so joyful to realize that someone somewhere thought of me and then actually did something about it when it would have been easier to come up with one of those logical excuses for not doing it.

Last night was one of those joyful moments taken to the next level. We were in the middle of a delicious dinner of eggplant parmesan and pasta when the doorbell rang. Standing on my front porch with a big pastry box in hand was a Facebook friend who had earlier posted about getting some St. Joseph’s pastry while in Utica. I teasingly commented, “Bring me some!” on her status update. Never did I expect those pastries to materialize that day, and just in time for dessert.

When Dennis answered the door and said something that indicated pastry had arrived, I jumped out of my seat and ran to hug Gina Marie. It wasn’t just because I have been trying to get this particular type of Italian pastry for the 12 years I have lived in upstate New York and for the six years of living in Texas before that, but because someone who is more casual acquaintance than close friend would do something so generous, so unexpected, so thoughtful without worrying about the cost or the effort. A random act of kindness, to be sure.

It was as if those familiar puffs of dough were stuffed not only with rich cream but with abundant love, all of it topped with a cherry. It was a communion of sorts, sisterhood shared through food. As I ate my pastry with a cup of espresso, I couldn’t help smiling. After being in a kind of dark place in recent weeks, this unexpected gift gave me hope and filled me with a bubbling kind of joy I haven’t felt in a long while.

So thank you, friend, not only for the delicious pastry but for the much-need burst of light in my otherwise weary soul.


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