OK, so I'm sitting here rotting my brain in front of the one-eyed god and doing stuff on-line, when the doorbell rings.
Huh? Who comes to visit me at 9:30 on Christmas Eve?
Someone in the Ward wanted to send me an anonymous Christmas present. Nice. (Even though I've long contended that Christmas doesn't come in a package, but that's another story.)
We chatted a bit, but I still don't know who my anonymous benefactor is. And thereby hangs a tale.
More years ago than I care to admit to, when I was living in Provo, there was a young lady in our Branch who spoke in Church and although I don't remember the bulk of her talk, I do remember her decrying the habit of some people of doing things anonymously. She was more in favor of the personal touch. (Of course, afterwards some of us got to talking and someone suggested that we bake 10,000 cookies, pile them on her doorstep, and then ring the bell and go hide in the bushes. Unfortunately, we never followed thru.)
But this evening's incident reminded me of a story I read somewhere around that time. It was a commentary on James Russell Lowell's Vision Of Sir Launfal (q.v.), an epic poem wherein our knight errant departs on the stereotypical fool's errand of searching for the "Holy Grail".
As Sir Launfal departs, arrayed in his finery and mounted on his trusty steed, he's stopped by a leper begging at the castle gate. Not wanting to be delayed in his quest, he tosses the old beggar a gold coin and rides off. Years later, he returns -- dented, banged up, not even riding his horse -- and what does he see at the castle gate? The same old beggar. So he sits himself down, pulls out his last crust of bread, and tells the beggar the story of his failed quest. As he finishes his narrative, the beggar is transformed before his eyes and Sir Launfal beholds his Savior, who says these words:
In whatso we share with another's need;
Not what we give, but what we share
for the gift without the giver is bare.
Who gives himself with his alms feeds three --
himself, his hungering neighbor, and Me"
Do something nice for someone today. Just don't do it anonymously.