Here’s a couple: Lee explained that his kind deed was in fact “a ‘selfish’ act to try and feel better after his wife of 43 years died in his arms during the holidays.” “. . . a bartender at the restaurant told Mail Online that the woman burst out crying after being told that their meal had been paid for. The couple were described as ‘in their early 30s with a young daughter.’”
Raise Your Gaze Considerations Lee Ballantyne, newly widowed at the time, might easily have been angered by the carefree couple’s joy and felt deeply envious in view of his loss. I don’t suppose that would be an entirely unusual emotional response.
I’ve personally known people in similar circumstances who engaged in volunteering and doing good deeds, hoping it would help take their mind of their grief and feel better. It’s true that doing good and demonstrating kindness towards others has been found to have positive therapeutic value for mind and spirit and emotions.
Ulterior motive? Of course, that would suggest a motivation for doing good in order to get something out of it. However, consider this:
~ Lee Ballantyne chose to demonstrate generosity.
~He did his deed anonymously.
~He neither expected nor sought any reward or accolade from those who benefitted from his kindness.
~It was not Ballantyne, but others, who put the story “out there.” Despite his attempt to salve his grief, his kind gesture is nonetheless a gaze-raiser that has inspired multitudes to cherish their loved ones while they have them and to perform unannounced acts of generosity.
- Food for the spiritual life: Question: Do you want to do good, but are aware of mixed self-oriented motives trying to sneak in?
- Jesus taught: 1 “Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. 2 “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you” (Matthew 6:1-4 – NIV2011).
- Paul the apostle wrote: “So I find it to be a law [of my being] that when I want to do what is right and good, evil is ever present with me and I am subject to its insistent demands” (Romans 7:21 – Ampl).
- A Prayer: Heavenly Father, Despite the nagging self-interest arising from my human nature, help me to choose to ‘get over myself’ and do what is good and right and gracious to do—and to do it for the best reasons, as Your grace works through the new nature I received from You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
May kind deeds continue to multiply
through the inspiration of Lee Ballantyne’s story
of quiet grief and anonymous generosity.
Coming soon: Raise Your Gaze collection of 52 articles from P-Pep! column, sprinkled with Words to Bless. (The protemp pic on the left is taller and slightly distorted than the actual.)
Peter A. Black is a freelance writer in Southwestern Ontario, and is author of “Parables from the Pond” – a children’s / family book (mildly educational, inspirational in orientation, character reinforcing). Finalist – Word Alive Press. ISBN: 1897373-21-X.
The book has found a place in various settings with a readership ranging from kids to senior adults. His inspirational column, P-Pep! appears weekly in The Guide-Advocate (of Southwestern Ontario). His articles have appeared in 50 Plus Contact and testimony, and several newspapers in Ontario. Peter’s current book project comprises a collection of 52 column articles, interspersed at points with brief inspirational statements of encouragement. ~~+~~