Pay It Forward November

I have been struggling with what I want to say lately. Maybe I have just been busy. Maybe I am at a loss for words for once in my life. Or maybe I am just happy. Happiness has a funny way of making your priorities stand out. This past week and a half I have been incredibly happy. There have been a couple of lows, but I quickly pushed them aside. I have been laughing more, creating more, and loving more than I have in the past couple of months. My stress and anxiety are easing, and I think I know why. Because I am choosing to be happy with where I am at. I am happy with what I have. I am happy with where I am going.

I had an experience a couple of months ago, simple, but pure in its nature. I was walking out of a book store after a counseling session. I had two books in my hand and was heading to my husbands basketball game. I felt light and empowered as I walked. I stepped through the double doors of Barnes and Nobel and the woman in front of me, held the door for me. As a typical reply, I thanked her. And then these words escaped my mouth, “How are you today?” I was honestly shocked with myself. Why couldn’t I just say thank her and keep walking? Her reply answered my question quickly. She smiled and said that she was fine and returned the question to me. After I walked away from her she called out, “Thank you for caring.”

As I walked to my car a woman was standing in front of my car. My typical reaction would be instant annoyance or anxiety of how to politely get her to move. However, as I studied her face she looked worried or upset. Instead of saying, “Could you move please?” I once again felt the words leave my mouth before I could catch them, “Are you alright, ma’am?” She turned to me with a look of shock.

“Oh yes,” she laughed “I’m just waiting for my husband”

I replied, “Sorry to intrude, you just looked upset, I wanted to make sure you were alright.”

She looked at me in wonder. “Thank you for caring” she replied and we parted ways.

Two separate interactions following the other. Both with similar responses. As I reflect on those interactions today I thought of how different our world would be if people just actually tried to care about one another. Stranger or not, we are all people. We are all striving, struggling, developing together. And yet, so often we forget that we are all going through this life with each other by our sides. With souls around us just longing for a kind word, or more than just a nod of the head. So often we are completely wrapped up with where we are going or what we have to do that we forget the gift of kindness. It’s right there in front of us, just aching to escape our mouths.

For the month of November, take a moment and compliment someone you don’t know, and actually mean it. If you don’t mean it you might as well not say anything, people can sense sincerity. Take the time to really ask someone how they are doing when they check out your groceries, or make eye contact when you thank someone. Maybe, just maybe, people will start to see the good in each other again.

In the words of my dear friend, Albus Dumbledore:

“Words are, in my not so humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic. Capable of both inflicting injury, and remedying it.”



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