This is the last segment devoted to this theme. In the last installment I told a story in which I attempted to communicate some of the presuppositions that can prevent one from actually loving another person. When those difficulties arise one can also become blind to the face of God that is standing directly in front of one’s eyes. In this post I would like to speak about some of the ways in we can be loved and through those various acts of love and kindness, discover the presence of God among us.
I would like to make reference to the Pay It Forward Movement. In this movement the beneficiary of some good deed repays the kindness that one has received to other person rather than to the original benefactor.
A number of years ago I got onto a bus that was going to take me to Downtown Brooklyn. As I reached to put my fare into the coin box, the driver of the bus covered the farebox with his hand and said: a previous passenger put in the fare and said the next passenger could ride free … but the passenger should be told “to pay it forward.”
I had heard about this movement but had never been the recipient of such an act. On that occasion, however, I became overwhelmed with joy (today, I ride the New York City Transit System free … wow!!!); surprise (someone, who did not know me, actually paid for my fare!); gratitude (what an incredible gesture!).
Then a few years later I entered a café to purchase a cappuccino and again when I went to pay the bill, the salesperson said, a previous customer had paid my bill, but again I was told: pay it forward. I had a similar experience in another café.
Each time that this has occurred, I become aware that another person traveling the same journey through life, took time to care for me, to give me something quite unexpected. I know I had a wide smile on my face when I was told that someone had already paid my bill. Those acts of kindness are so unexpected.
At the same time, when I was shown this kindness, I also had an obligation to fulfill my part, that is, I had to do a similar act of kindness to someone else. Therefore, within a short time after each of these events occurred, I repaid that kindness and I hope that someone else was able to smile and feel that same joy, surprise and gratitude. Hopefully, as I was able to discover the presence of God in the midst of these incredible situations, someone else was able to discover God alive in their midst.
Try it sometime … begin a pay it forward chain!!!
To view other posts in this series, click here.