Several months back, I posted about one of my neighbors, a seventy-ish black man who flew the American flag in front of his house at all times. Recently, I noticed that his flag was becoming tattered and faded. Apparently, he noticed it as well, because he took it down.
About a week ago, as I was walking around in the local Air Force Base Exchange, I happened to walk by the American flag display and a thought popped into my mind: “Mr. Leo needs a new flag.” So I bought him one.
I kept the new flag in the car in case of one of the frequent occasions that I would see Mr. Leo outside when coming out of the house on my way somewhere. Today was the day. I saw him, hailed him and told him that I had something for him.
When I handed him the flag, I saw something that I had never seen on Mr. Leo’s face: a very wide smile and barely-checked tears.
Giving is its own reward.
Am I feeling good about it? Oh, yes, but not because I gave, but because my giving made a difference, if only to bring forth that seldom-seen smile. Smiles are indications of deeper things in the long run.
That smile was a better gift than the flag.