What a better way to get back into the writing habit than to remind us all that PAYING IT FORWARD in some small way - on a regular basis - can do so much for so many?
I've personally been through so, so much over the last (almost) two years... and honestly, it is way too much to write about and list here today. Once again, I've let the ups and downs of life personally keep me from doing one of the things I dearly love ... putting pen to paper (or, in this case - fingers to keyboard!) Trust me, if I tried writing about all of it here today, it would be a pitiful listing of grievances, and come off appearing as a "woe is me" kind of dialogue - and that is not what I like to convey! I can say that we have had some peaks and valleys within our family recently, and are hopefully coming out the other side of this desert, where we've experienced some major medical, financial and emotional challenges.
However - throughout all the recent upheavals in my life, there have been a couple monumental things that have kept me moving forward:
#1 - My faith in God. Yeah, sometimes I don't feel like getting up and going to Mass. And ashamedly, I've done that. But ya know what? I believe that our God is a loving and forgiving God - yeah, I know He can get angry... but God also knows our human natures...after all - HE DESIGNED US. I personally believe that He gets it when I'm Angry. Upset. Frustrated. Hurting. Scared. Annoyed. I have finally figured out that I don't have to feel "guilty" any more just for feeling these feelings. It's what we do with those feelings - our actions - that can make or break us. That's where sin comes in. And it's also where GRACE comes in. All we have to do is ask - and God will grant us the GRACE to deal with what we need - at that moment. I plan on discussing this amazing gift again - I've begun to learn quite a bit about it recently!
#2 - Random Acts of Kindness. By this, I mean I've been on the receiving end of kindness throughout all of my recent tribulations. Whether from family, close friends, acquaintances or complete strangers, I've had some glimpses of perfect love and charity passed to me in recent months, and the effect has been over-whelming at times. It always seems to come to me when I need it most.
And that's the important thing. You just never know what the person on the receiving end could be enduring at that particular moment in time. Maybe they're having a good day - who knows! Then your small random act of kindness will be a positive reinforcement to their current joy in the world around them - and hopefully, that person will immediately pay that act of kindness forward to another.
But what if that person on the receiving end of your random act of kindness is not having a "good" day? What if they are experiencing extreme hardship, stress, ill health, grief, anger ... or any number of sad or negative experiences?
I have to say that I believe that your while your act of kindness may not be paid forward as "quickly," the impact and effect that it has AT THAT MOMENT could just be a small gift of grace that that person needed. Perhaps they are experiencing too much to even consider passing on a random act of kindness to another human being. However - the probability that they would never forget your actions is high. They will remember the small smile you gave them, the favor you granted, the cut in line, the free cup of coffee, the kind word, the wave, the ride home... and perhaps, when life seems a little less stressful, they will remember and then pay it forward - to someone else who really needed it at that particular moment.
I've been told by several people in my life that paying it forward is really just creating "good Karma." I have to disagree... because when you truly commit a random act of kindness from your heart - from the depth of your soul - you care. You care about that fellow human being at that moment - you care, really, for all of humanity. It's no longer just a question of "tit-for-tat" or matching up what comes in or goes out spiritually. Love has to be involved for it to truly work.
I've run across several blogs, websites and articles over the years on the effects of "Paying It Forward," and one of the best quotes I've come across is this:
"Any random act of kindness can cause a positive ripple effect restoring our faith in the love and compassion of the human spirit."
In recent months, those acts have given me new hope, renewed my strength, and restored my faith... I'm finally arriving back to the place emotionally where I can fully open myself up to passing this on. Again - I didn't forget any of those moments. They have stayed with me, and I pray that I can be an example and conduit of Grace now to someone else.
“It is my wildest dream that the concept of paying a favor forward instead of paying it back would take over the world and results in a cascading flood of people helping their fellow human beings. This may never come true but I believe that if just one of the people I help does the same for another person then it has made a difference to the world. I do not have a lot of money, I am not extremely gifted or intelligent, I don’t now how to make things better for everyone but if I can help anyone in some small way, whether that be opening a door for a lady who has her hands full with shopping, directing a lost tourist, informing an elderly man as to when the next bus will arrive or even just saying “thank-you” and smiling at a sales assistant who appears to have had a bad day, I know that my small favors somehow, somewhere make a difference, and that’s enough for me. Don’t pay it back – pay it forward. The world wont change, but you can.” posting on a kindness website by Bree, a 20 year old Australian
May you be Blessed today - and every day!
(Quotations from "Pay It Forward Day - Best Pay It Forward Stories": payitforwardday.com)
Pay it forward - Spread a Smile !