Thursday, November 8, 2012

Pay It Forward

I've learned a lot of things from my dad while he was alive.  When I was little, he held me up on roller skates, taught me how to hook a line with a worm, and how not to pee behind a tree.  Later in life, I stood by his side and learned the fine art of loading a Crap Table in Vegas and impressing the hell out of the old dudes chewing on cheap cigars and clinging to their dollar bills.  However much this last lesson might have cost (or won) me in gambling money over the years, I wouldn't take back a nerve wracking moment with him.  There is, yet - another legacy he left me and last night it came roaring back into my life through someone else; "Pay It Forward".

It's amazing what children pickup from their parents when their parents aren't watching.  I've learned some of my best swear words from Richard and Maryellen Bryant.  Also, my marriage is a gift from my parents; their laughter, their communication, their friendship...yes, I watched it all growing up.  I expected the same when I eventually exchanged vows.  When it wasn't in my first marriage, I knew something was very, very wrong.  My mom always told her daughters, "Marry a man like your father."   Jeff was a wonderful man, but he wasn't my soul mate - he wasn't meant for me.  Eric is my life partner.  I've also learned the fine art of how to get what I want from my dear one (thank you mama).  Watching her kanoodle dad was nothing short of miraculous.  No matter how big the request or problem, he always ended up agreeing with her (I'm grinning ear to ear as I type this).

The biggest take away; however, were the meals he'd pick up for young couples in love, desperate looking families, or senior citizens in restaurants.  He never said anything.  The only way I knew what he was doing was when he would quietly tell the hostess and she'd give it away when they were making the arrangements.  He didn't want any fanfare, he didn't want any big deal made out of it, and he definitely didn't want the recipients to know who he was.  He just wanted to do something nice.  What makes me smile is realizing that these are just the gifts I'm personally aware of.  How many more random acts of kindness did he perform without my knowing?  I can only imagine. 

Because of this, Eric and I are great advocates of random acts of kindness.  We "Pay It Forward" whenever we have an opportunity to do so.

Last night, a complete stranger rang our doorbell and gave us an envelope with money in it.  I won't deny that Eric and I have been going through some difficult times lately with our oldest kiddo in Juvenile Hall, our garage in shambles, and our other kiddo driving us to the brink of insanity.  The gentleman indicated that he was asked to give us the envelope by another stranger.  There was no name, no indication of who it was from - just our names on the envelope, cash inside, and the statement, "With Love".

The sentiment made us weep.  To have someone care enough to do something so kind.  Eric and I have been wrapped up in our own little world of problems and concerns that we've forgotten how blessed we are to be surrounded by a blanket of comfort and love.  The money will certainly help but it was the kindness, the "Pay It Forward", that will pull us through these tough days ahead.  There is a warm glow coming from our house on the top of the hill in Thornton, Colorado.  It is one of friendship, contentment, and peace.

Eric and I keep a picture of my dad on the table in our Family Room.  Below it reads a quote by Dr. Seuss, “Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened."  It could never be more true than it is today.  Thank you dad for your what you've taught me and thank you once again to our anonymous friend for your warm and comforting blanket of love.