An Italian-American living la dolce vita in the Deep South

An Italian-American living la dolce vita in the Deep South

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Love Tokens


Last week I was in Publix shopping for ingredients to make lasagna. We were visiting Jonathan the next day and I wanted to bring him a home cooked meal. As I reached for a carton of Ricotta cheese I felt someone tap me gently on the arm. I turned to face an elderly woman smiling sweetly at me.

“If you don’t mind, “she said. “I’d like to give you a love token.”

I hesitated for the briefest of seconds. What exactly did she mean? Would I have to engage? Did she want to share her faith? Was there a catch? But she looked sweet (and harmless) and so I went with it.

“Well, sure,” I said. “The world needs all the love it can get.”

And so she reached into a small, drawstring bag and handed me a tiny, wooden heart with the word “LOVE” inscribed on one side – a love token, literally.

“I just want you to have a nice day,” she said, and then gave me another one for my “sweetie” before walking away.

She made me smile. I slipped the love tokens in my pocket, finished my shopping, and continued with my day.  I went to the bank, took Timothy’s class to Adoration,  picked him up from school, drove him to soccer tryouts, took a quick walk on the canal, assembled two lasagnas (one for Jono, one for us), made phone calls, sent emails, and folded two loads of laundry. It was a typical, ordinary, not-exciting-in-the-least-kind-of-day.

And yet, it wasn’t a typical or ordinary kind of day at all. Because of two, tiny heart tokens in my pocket, the day had transformed into something more – a full day, with endless possibilities, to pass on my own love tokens.

A smile to the grumpy cashier.
Patience with the lady who cut me off in traffic.
An encouraging email.
Lasagna for my son.
Prayers for a friend.
A corny joke for someone who needed a laugh.

All of it perfectly ordinary on my part, but perhaps extraordinary for the other person.


Later that evening, I thought how that sweet woman used her wooden love tokens as stepping stones to come out of self and into mindfulness – of charity, kindness, forgiveness, courtesy. None of these things is complicated, but they do require sacrifice and an awareness of the world around us.

And when you think that the Hallmark trappings of hearts and balloons occurs just before the beginning of Lent, it all makes perfect sense.

3 comments:

Cathy Keller said...

Angels enter our lives in so many ways! What a wonderfully tender story. Have a grand day!

Gigi said...

What a beautiful story! One small kind gesture that one person gives radiates out and spreads to so many others.

Beth (A Mom's Life) said...

So beautiful!!! Thank you for sharing this!