I’m humbled by the support for my birthday initiative. I really don’t think people know how much this stuff means to me. I’m sure on the outside it looks like I’m just always up to something else and that many of people’s efforts get overlooked in the process, but it truly moves me when people become a part of my life in these types of ways. Even when I’m too overwhelmed to properly acknowledge people’s efforts, my heart is deeply stirred within me.
So far, my personal journey with paying it forward has been a challenging and rewarding one. The first person I actually did good for was the man behind me in the line at Starbucks on Friday. I decided that with my Starbucks gold card (yes, I’ve achieved Gold status at Starbucks and it’s natural that you’re uncontrollably impressed by that reality; and fun fact: my card has my name on it… just saying. I’m not sure parentheses are supposed to have this much content in them; thus, it would be counterproductive to continue writing if indeed I have already written too much here but I’m doing it because I can). Back to the story: I decided that with my Starbucks gold card I would pay for his drink. You may be wondering, “then why don’t I see any other men in these photos?” Great question! When I said that I wanted to pay for his chai latte he immediately said no, started shaking his head, and looked like he had seen a ghost. I tried reassuring him by letting him know that this is what I was doing for my birthday and all he would have to do in return is to do some good for 3 other people. So he let me buy it. Then I asked if I could get a picture with him… he was not having that at all!
I’m not sure why he was so deathly afraid of someone doing something nice. I don’t think most people are used to it. It actually bothers me that there is so little good in the world that people have to automatically doubt your motives for doing something. I don’t think that this is unwarranted, it’s wise to be safe, it just bothers me.
Yeah, so can you imagine that this is my first experience trying to fulfill my Pay it Forward adventure??? Instead of feeling dejected or rejected in that moment, I remembered to think about love in terms of seeds. The nature of a seed is that you don’t see it growing for the first part of its life because the growth is happening underground. If you’re trying to look for immediate results with a seed, you’re going to be very disappointed. In fact, I would venture that most of the disappointment we feel is simply because of a skewed expectation. We expected it to turn out a certain way and it didn’t. But maybe that’s not actually what was supposed to happen in that moment.
My expectation was that this man would be inspired and that it would make his day better, but maybe my job was to plant a seed that still might not produce fruit for years. I want to be ok with that. The truth is, you may never see the fruit of the all of the seeds you’ve planted in your lifetime. You feel like you’re trying to help a youth see the bigger picture and they’re just not getting it; you’re trying your best to love your sibling and they seem to be misinterpreting and rejecting your efforts… you name it. This is not to say that we shouldn’t have expectations of how we would like a situation to go, but it is to say that we should not allow our expectations to be rigid and immovable. Bruce Lee said, “Note that the stiffest tree is most easily cracked, while bamboo or willow survives by bending with the wind.” We all need to learn how to successfully navigate the flow of life and trust in God’s timing and sovereignty. Don’t fight it. The situation with pictureless-paranoid man reminded me of that truth once again. Who knows what good will come out of that small gesture?
I’ve been so blessed by everyone who’s been a part of Pay it Forward so far (if you’re wondering what’s going on, read the last entry on the home page titled “It’s My Birthday!”). As you can see I’ve done two already and I’m hoping that I can do good today to some unsuspecting victim of my benevolence. Also, there are a few photos that people have sent me already so I posted a couple of them along with short captions about what they did. I’m looking forward with anticipation to see the beautiful fruit and growth that comes out this as it moves forward. I want to have a whole page full of pictures and stories! It doesn’t have to be anything too huge and it doesn’t have to cost you anything other than your effort if you don’t want it to. Put yourself out there! I know it might be a little bit scary but the reward is well worth it. Don’t worry about how people are going to receive it, or if they’ll think you’re weird, or if they get afraid because they don’t understand why you would want to do something for them. Your job is do plant the seed of ‘good’. it will grow in due time.