Isaiah 6:8

8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Have You Ever Paid It Forward?

One of my favorite movies is called, Pay It Forward.  I came out in 2000 and really touched my heart.  The stars of the movie were Kevin Spacey, Helen Hunt, and Haley Joel Osment.  It made me curious about the concept of paying it forward.  I loved what the little boy did as his assignment and discovered that the term paying it forward is a third-party recipient concept that involves doing something good for someone in response to a good deed done on your behalf or a gift you received. However, when you pay it forward, you don't repay the person who did something nice for you. Instead, you do something nice for someone else. For example, if someone changes your tire while you are stranded on the highway, you might pay it forward by shoveling your elderly neighbor's walkway after a snow has fallen.  In 1980 I was the recipient of a pay it forward.  I had a flat tire on a hill in our town….right in front of the library.  There I was….8 months pregnant, running on bald tires, and one blew.  I sat down on the curbing of the road and squalled.  I have never felt so helpless in my whole life.  During one of my deep sobbing breaths I felt a firm hand on my shoulder and there he stood.  I thought at first he was an angel because the sun surrounded him….but later realized he was someone’s grandfather.  The man was in his late 70’s.  He took his jack, the spare tire he had on the back of his pickup, and fixed my flat.  I had 20.00 to my name and offered it to him….between hiccups.  He rolled his weathered hand around mine…..and made sure the 20.00 was firmly still in my hand…..and told me to do something nice for someone sometime.  I never even got his name.  For years every time I read the local obituaries I wondered….was that him?  I never knew….but pay it forward I did.  I have paid it forward many times in my life…since that day.  What a lesson I learned.  My friend Mary is an Army wife and mother of twins.  She is paying it forward on her blog and I want you to go over and see if you can help her out.  I have not had children for a long time….but I believe what she is trying to do is awesome.  One of the most important things to remember about paying it forward is that it should be done with a selfless spirit. This means you help another person knowing that repayment or good deeds in return may or may not happen. In fact, there are some organizations that allow people to pay it forward anonymously, donating money or performing good deeds without hoping for recognition. As far as the receiver of the money, gift, or good deed is concerned, he or she is told only to pay it forward.  What I didn't know was that the pay it forward concept actually has a firm foundation in history. Ben Franklin described it in a letter he wrote to Benjamin Webb in 1784. In this letter, he wrote about his intention to help Mr. Webb by lending him some money. However, he did not want to be repaid directly. Instead, Ben Franklin hoped Mr. Webb would at some point meet an honest man in need of financial help and pass the money along to him.  Paying it forward doesn't have to mean giving a large some of money or expending a lot of effort. It could be as simple as holding the door for someone laden with bags or giving up your place in line to someone who appears in a rush. It could even mean spending a little cash on coffee for the person behind you in line at a coffee house. For those who have money they can afford to give, there are always people in need, but even the smallest, free gestures can make a difference.  I am glad Mary reminded me of the time when I was so pitiful….and someone paid it forward for me.  So, what I am asking you to do today is for you check out Mary’s blog….AND pay it forward to someone in your life path.  I promise you….it will make their day and yours.  Happy Tuesday!


sara said...

what a great story!!!

I am heading over there right now!

Mary Frances S. said...

I'm definitely headed over there right now! I am a new follower and love your site! So encouraging!

I blog at:

Debby@Just Breathe said...

One of my favorite movies! I love paying it forward in life. What a nice thing Mary is doing.

Mary said...

Thanks so much for spreading the word! You always inspire me with your posts & I'm lucky to have such an awesome bloggy buddy!