The first few years of my life I lived in poverty. When my adopted mother got me at the age of 5 I was under nourished. She made sure that growing up I never knew hunger like that again. I never needed for anything, but I never forgot. I was not too good to receive hand-me-downs and was taught to show my thanks to the person that gave them, in return I gave away my unwanted/unused items. I was taught that if something was good you do not throw it away, GIVE it away.
I grew up listening to Kenneth Copeland and being taught to,” Give and it shall be given unto you.” Several times in my adult life I have been the one in need. I have been blessed with angels around me and was always SO very very thankful for them and the help they gave to me or to my kids. Just two Christmas’ ago it was angels that gave my children their Christmas. We were helped by many during 2 major hurricanes. I make regular trips to Goodwill to drop off our unwanted. I’ve bought food and medicine for friends in need. I have volunteered my time for non-profits, for church, etc..
Giving when I can is a part of me, way before the “Pay it Forward” ever became a saying.
Last night I was touched on the giving end like never before. I honestly could not control my actions and I HAD to do it.. I almost let it go.. but I couldn’t. I felt physically ill when I thought of just “letting it go, staying out of it, that’s her life.” etc..
I am in community play and after the play last night I stopped at a 24 hour drug store to get a simple snack. I had $8 and I was going to meet my friends at a local bar for koaroke before heading home. Small budget, but I wasn’t going to drink. I was going to listen to the talent and be with friends for a bit before heading home.
The older lady in front of me put away her food card (food stamps, but it is used on a debt card now) with a confused look on her face. She was looking through a small book for any money and just seemed so confused.. That small book was a little bitty New Testament Bible. She had a bag of medicine that was tearing in her hand too. On the register computer screen I saw $2.99. I asked the cashier if that was her order. I had to ask twice because either she didn’t hear me or she just thought I was being nosy. The cashier had called the manager to come over to override the order and clear it from the register. The lady was trying to buy milk and crackers to eat with her medicine.
I was finally able to get the cashier’s attention and get the total of the older lady’s order. With her order and my order it was about $10. I only had $8 cash, but I had my debit card. I almost did not bring my wallet in with me, and at first just grabbed my keys and my cash before entering the store. We are robbing peter to pay paul this pay period and shuffling bills around. But you know what? My kids don’t need medicine and we have food. On the debit card it went.
The lady was so confused. She didn’t understand why she was being handed her groceries. She didn’t understand HOW it could be paid for. I asked if she had a way home and she told me she lived in the apartments next door and walked. I offered her a ride (It was 11pm!!). She declined and I left in tears.
In all my years of helping others, and being helped myself (that often brought tears to my eyes too.. I once cried over ziplock bags). I have never been touched like that before. Last night I truly learned the other side of paying it forward. Being compelled beyond your own understanding to help a stranger. She got her groceries, I got a heart lesson.