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Paying It Forward Can Be Priceless

19 May

134222868There’s an old joke . . .

“Let’s eat grandpa.”

“Let’s eat, grandpa.”

A comma can save a person’s life.

Just as a small punctuation mark can change the meaning of a sentence, a simple gesture of goodwill can bring a rhythm and order to life. For some people, performing an act of goodwill is instinctive. Take my friend Kendra. Kind and compassionate, Kendra recently gave me flowers to cheer me up when I was feeling down.

I came home to find a fragrant hyacinth plant on my front porch with a thoughtful, hand-written note attached. Hyacinth happens to be one of my favorites, but the type of flower didn’t matter. Kendra could have brought me a sack of flour and I would have been touched. It was the idea that she was thinking of me that I found meaningful. When my emotions were off kilter, Kendra helped me find the balance.

For people like Kendra, doing good deeds comes as naturally as eating, sleeping, and reading the tabloid headlines in the grocery checkout line do for the rest of us. Good-willed individuals spend time helping people who are needy— the single parent who lost her job, the homeless man who is hungry, the child who needs a new pair of shoes. The rest of us spend our free time complaining—about the lady on the train talking loudly on her cellphone, the guy driving slow in the fast lane, or our kid who leaves a tissue in his jacket pocket and puts it through the washing machine.

Many of us have good intentions but get so caught up with life that we are too busy to take care of our own needs, let alone the needs of others. Doing a good deed may require thought and effort but it doesn’t have to be a tremendous undertaking. Kendra, for example, always keeps a few extra quarters in her car so she can feed other people’s meters. That makes her the Good Meter Fairy in my book.

But paying it forward doesn’t have to set you back even a quarter. You can give of yourself, literally, by donating blood. 100% goes straight to those in need, unlike monetary donations that are sometimes put toward things like administrative costs, publicity, and 120-foot yachts. An added benefit to giving blood is its tangible rewards. You can get coupons for free stuff and all-you-can-eat muffins and juice in the recovery area.

Doing a good deed can be as simple as letting someone go ahead of you in line. Once, while buying fruit at the grocery store, I let an elderly woman who was struggling to carry a basket of groceries go ahead of me. She thanked me profusely, then let her husband join her in line. His shopping cart was filled to the brim with groceries and he had a coupon for every item. By the time I finally checked out, my bananas had ripened, but I still felt good.

Doing good deeds can give our lives meaning and bring gratification and joy from contributing to the lives of others. The point is you don’t have to pull out your wallet to pay it forward. Sometimes giving someone a smile—or letting them go ahead of you in line—can be priceless.

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37 Responses to “Paying It Forward Can Be Priceless”

  1. cindyricksgers May 19, 2014 at 9:44 am #

    What a nice way to start the week, with these kind thoughts! Thank you!

  2. G M Barlean May 19, 2014 at 10:02 am #

    Perfect. I love what I’m seeing of late. This creative conscience. Spreading the rumors about good things and good people. This is what the world needs. Maybe things will be okay. Thanks for restoring my faith in humanity this morning!

  3. Debbie May 19, 2014 at 10:02 am #

    Love it! Well said…..now we need to just “do it”….

  4. Carrie Rubin May 19, 2014 at 11:19 am #

    Wonderful, inspiring post. It’s been a while since I’ve done a good deed, I think. Time to get on it. Thank you. 🙂

  5. atempleton May 19, 2014 at 12:56 pm #

    Some very good thoughts. And a good time to read a post like this, since I’ve been stuck in the ’tissue left in the pants pocket’ mentality most of the day. Thanks.

  6. Traci May 19, 2014 at 1:48 pm #

    The parking meter idea really inspired me. I especially value acts of kindness that are done in the shadows of the limelight.

  7. sportsattitudes May 19, 2014 at 7:25 pm #

    If everyone read this post and then set about to take each opportunity presented within their day-to-day to do good deeds…the world would be so much more exciting and inviting to wake up to each morning. We can all view ways every single day to light the way for others..if we only are willing to take the time to keep them our eyes open to those opportunities before us.

  8. Perfecting Motherhood May 20, 2014 at 12:44 am #

    Being kind and doing kind things is the way to go. I teach my kids that every day, by example and by guiding them in doing the right thing, finding the opportunity to do something nice. I can’t believe how many people never bother to look around and actually mind someone else than themselves, even for a second. If they did, the world would be such a better place. 🙂

    • Main Street Musings Blog May 20, 2014 at 8:58 am #

      It’s wonderful that you’re teaching your children those values. Next, it will be up to them.

  9. LuAnn May 20, 2014 at 8:43 am #

    I loved this post Lisa and I completely agree with you. I try very hard to live by this mantra.

  10. Ruth2Day May 20, 2014 at 11:43 am #

    lovely post 🙂

  11. jotsfromasmallapt May 20, 2014 at 12:04 pm #

    Nice to be able to actually see your posts Lisa. For the longest time my computer wouldn’t let me “enter” your fine world of words. It is, indeed, a good day!

    Now….off to do a couple of good things for Special Ones…..

    Raye

  12. Paprika Furstenburg May 20, 2014 at 1:32 pm #

    It’s nice to be reminded there is good out there. These little acts of kindness can have a big impact on the recipient.

  13. morristownmemos by Ronnie Hammer May 20, 2014 at 2:09 pm #

    Your reminder made me feel kinder already!

  14. Shalagh Hogan (Say Shay-la) May 20, 2014 at 11:12 pm #

    How sweet and humbling Kendra is. It feels fantastic to give and to receive. And yes, nicely posted. I’m smiling at you.
    Love,
    Shalagh

  15. Lou May 21, 2014 at 3:43 pm #

    Playing it forward could almost be considered a religious experience. Good Willing is next to God Willing, but don’t ask an agnostic.

  16. earthriderjudyberman May 25, 2014 at 4:19 pm #

    About the woman you let ahead of you in the grocery line AND then her husband follows with a cart full of groceries and coupons for each item … No good deed goes unpunished. 😉

    You’re right, Lisa. It’s those moments that make us happy because we’ve done a good turn. It’s one small way to make a positive difference in life.

  17. sherrystanfastanley June 13, 2014 at 7:04 pm #

    This is really lovely, Lisa! How wonderful that you have such a terrific friend–but also that you looked beyond this sweet gesture for a way to extend it to mean more.

    On a side note, hyacinths are one of my very favorites, too. In fact, I wrote a short story about a terminally ill woman who comes home to find her house filled with hyacinths.

  18. lollygaggerly June 24, 2015 at 6:44 am #

    Reblogged this on LOLLYGAGGER.

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