Here is a story (possibly apocryphal, but powerful nevertheless) about a man who acted in the spirit of love and about what he consequently learned.
Many years ago an old man stood on a Virginia riverbank. He was waiting to cross the river and, since it was bitterly cold and there were no bridges, he was hoping to get a ride across on horseback. After a lengthy wait he spotted a group of horsemen approaching. He let the first one pass, then the second, third, fourth and fifth. One rider remained. As he drew abreast, the old man looked him in the eye and said, "Sir, would you give me a ride across the river?"
The rider immediately replied, "Certainly." Once across the river, the old man slid to the ground. "Sir," the rider said before leaving. "I could not help but notice that you permitted all the other men to pass without asking for a ride. Then, when I drew abreast, you immediately asked me to carry you across. I am curious as to why you didn’t ask them and you did ask me."
The old man quietly responded, "I looked into their eyes and could see no love and knew in my own heart it would be useless to ask for a ride. But when I looked into your eyes, I saw compassion, love and the willingness to help. I knew you would be glad to give me a ride across the river."
The rider was touched. "I’m grateful for what you are saying," he said. "I appreciate it very much." With that, Thomas Jefferson turned and rode off to the White House.
A good question. For it is said that others will know us by our love. Some will see it in the things we do and some in the things we say. And a few perceptive souls, like the old man in the story, may catch a glimmer of a loving and generous spirit in the expression of kind eyes.
It is often said that our eyes are the windows to our souls. If that is true, what is it that our eyes show about us? Or let me ask it a different way: if you had been the last rider, would the old man have asked you for a ride?
May you be easily recognized by your love.
-– Steve Goodier (Life Support System)