As you may know, I’m committed to Paying It Forward and posting the videos to YouTube every day for a year. As I write this, I’m on day 191.
What I’ve learned so far is that no matter I’m dealing with in the day, it always feels good to give. It takes me out of my own, limited perspective and transports into the world of someone else just going about their typical day. Paying It Forward (which simply means doing something unexpectedly nice for a stranger) has given me greater perspective. My world is but one of many; it’s easy to forget our role in the World (capital “W”) when we focus just on our own.
This quest has been one I made for myself. It wasn’t about publicity. This was and is a simple exercise for me to feel like I giving back and having a smaller-than-small positive impact on on the greater World, even if it’s just inspiring a single smile that lasts a second.
In Paying It Forward for 191 days now, some of my most meaningful encounters have been…
- Buying an ice cream sundae for a woman celebrating her birthday by herself (Day 12)
- Buying a $10 Chipotle gift card and hearing the Chipotle employee share her own story of recently paying it forward (Day 26)
- Giving a street cleaner a$10 gift card to CVS who said his holiday was now going to be “very special” (Day 76)
- Giving lottery tickets to a gas station clerk in a small SC town who insisted upon writing down my information so if she won, she could contact me and pay for my kids to go to college (Day 90)
- My son (aka “Camera Guy”) asking to Pay It Forward without me (Day 122)
The most amazing day however was not one involving me helping others, it involved others helping me.
I recently traveled to New York City to visit my best friend, Christine Tobias. We went to see one of our favorite authors, Eckhart Tolle, speak at the Beacon Theater (which was amazing!). On the train ride over, she sent me a picture – the one featured in this blog – of 8 beautifully decorated brown paper bags. Easter was the next morning. I thought these were for her kids, nieces, and nephews. Instead, without asking or prompting, Christine took it upon herself to make these lunches, have her kids decorate the bags, and bring them to the city. They were 8 brown bagged lunches that she had made for us to give away on Day 192. That is selfless love at its best. Her generosity and support overwhelms with me with love and humility.
With Christine’s thoughtfulness, I am reminded of how rich my life is. Love is abundant. Riches surround us. When we open our eyes and hearts to the bountiful blessings right before us (i.e., love, family, faith, friendship, health, employment, companionship, parenthood, fulfillment, purpose, etc.), we can frolic in our fortune.
And how better for us to respond to riches, than to share.