Tennesseetransitions


Pay It Forward

About 15 years ago I was standing on the front steps of the local post office, asking Michael if he had a quarter in his pocket so that I might buy a newspaper. A lady walking up the steps must’ve heard him answer “no” so she turned around, pressed a quarter into my hand and said “Pay It Forward”. I’d never heard the term, so she told me about the movie with that name and the premise behind it of helping someone without any expectation of repayment except by asking the recipient to repay the good deed. I was so touched by that simple transaction that I’ve watched the movie 3 times over the passing years and never tire of it’s theme. But lessons we learn, even profound ones like this, sometimes need to be relearned or remembered. Last Sunday my friend Gerald walked up to me at church and gave me his last container of citric acid from the bulk stash he’d bought years ago for his business. He knows I use it when canning tomatoes and other stuff. When I offered to pay him,  he replied  “Nope, just Pay It Forward“. I fell in love all over again with that idea and have thought about it repeatedly since: thanks so much for the sweet reminder Gerald!

This blog has always focused on ways that we can live healthier, more frugal and community-based lives while we strive to find ways that will allow us to become less dependent on the idea of always buying a solution to life’s everyday needs. Pay It Forward fits very nicely into a ‘living well on less’ lifestyle. I’m recommitting to the idea and am having big fun finding ways to do that. Not only does the practice help others accomplish things they might not be able to accomplish on their own, the practice of helping one another can spread geometrically through society, creating a social movement with an impact of making the world a better place. A better place! Think about that! 

The Heifer Project and Kiva micro-loans are both based on this concept, and locally, One Acre Cafe operates within the same framework-if you can afford to pay an extra dollar or so for your meal (and you can since you don’t have to tip the volunteer staff)  your extra is ‘paid forward’ to feed someone that can’t afford a meal.

One doesn’t need to make loans of money however to make the world a better place. Some of us may not have even a bit of extra money to pay forward, but the concept can be expressed in myriad ways: donating your extra garden produce to someone in need or giving a stranger’s car battery a jump come immediately to mind. Paying it forward helps me to remember the power of giving and my connection  with all living things. It helps both the giver and the recipient by adding a touch of  kindness and compassion to their days. Simply put, the unspoken message is: “I care about you”. 

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6 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Ric Masten, a visiting Unitarian minister, YEARS ago spoke on what he called “hinge moments”. When you open a door just a crack but follow the angle at the hinge on out and out and out, the effect is much wider the farther you go. We can’t always know, or predict, the width of the angle as it goes farther away from the hinge…us.

Comment by Deanna

Interesting concept Deanna. Ric Masten…name sounds familiar but I cant place him. Have a good weekend!

Comment by simpleintn

You are welcome, and thank YOU for all the things you do, including this blog.

Comment by gtkeep2013

It’s good for the receiver, and it’s good for the heart and soul of the giver. It just feels good. I think of paying it forward when I donate blood, cos 3 people can benefit from each pint. I’ll never know any of them, but that’s ok. You and Micheal have a good weekend.

Comment by sarasinart

Thanks Nancy. I’m headed for New Orleans tomorrow for a few days! Donating blood is a perfect example of pay it forward!

Comment by simpleintn

Cool, have a wonderful trip!

Comment by sarasinart




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