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Pay it Forward

Pay it Forward

Today I was at my mother’s house. I’d popped in to collect some library books and chit chat for a moment. I was pressed for time because my classes started last week (Behavioral Sciences/Substance Abuse) and 5 classes + 2 teens is nothing to sneeze at! She asked me if I wanted the new pair of house slippers on her sofa- her neighbor had given them to her: size 10, just my size. They were gray, with gray fur trim around the edges and super soft inside. I accepted them, and with a hug and a kiss I was out the door.

I had only driven a few blocks down the road when the feelings were put on my heart to go and take the shoes to the local homeless shelter. It would have been fairly easy to go and drop them off as a donation, I’m sure somebody could have used them. But this felt more personal, and the feelings that were tugging at my heart were very clear, “Go to the parking lot- somebody will be there that can wear them.”

I had no idea what was going on, but I knew that these feelings were too strong to ignore. I had to go. The shelter used to be a church- it’s in a seedy part of town and known to be running rampant with drug addicts and alcoholics. I know the scene well- I lived there years ago. I took the back alley, keeping my eyes peeled; I didn’t see anybody at first, it looked pretty empty. As I got closer, I could see two couches out at the dumpster right at the edge of an alley. Sitting on one of the couches was a woman in her 50’s, facing the alley- backpack at her feet. There was nobody else around. She sat as still as a stone and even as I pulled up alongside her, she didn’t turn her head. I knew immediately she was the one I was meant to find.

I took the slippers and walked up to her and said, “Excuse me, I have some new, gray slippers here, would you happen to be able to wear a size 10?” (I didn’t want to come across as a total whack-job, but I knew I had to do this.) She was startled, but gratefully accepted the slippers- she wore a 9 1/2. Bingo!

We talked for a moment and she told me about her sister who’d been brutally murdered in the city next to us only a year before. She also told me about her daughter she hadn’t seen in over three years. I shared some of my own story with her along the same lines and I felt for a moment, that we were able to share an understanding of sorts, we truly had walked in each others’ shoes in life. I shared with her that I was a former resident and knew her plight all too well. I too was no stranger to losing a child. I asked her if she had a Bible- she did, a small one in her pocket. Then I asked her if she had any money. She looked frightened and I realized how my question had sounded! I explained that I didn’t want money, I wanted to give her a few dollars. At first, she was hesitant, but I knew she was embarrassed, so I made light of the situation, handing her $20.00. I told her that if I had two pennies, I would give her one, knowing that God had all things in His hands. What I give, He will make sure I get back somewhere else.

She broke out in tears and I gave her a big hug. I asked her her name and she told me it was Lucille. “Lucille, I’ll keep you in my prayers. Everything is going to get better, it really will. It’s going to take time! But it will get better,” I told her. And with that, I left.

This evening my friend stopped by. I hadn’t seen her in several months and we had tea and cake and a nice visit. I shared my earlier experience with her regarding Lucille. I had been feeling almost selfish, like I wanted to keep Lucille all to myself. It’s not every day something like that happens! It had become suddenly very precious to me, but I told her about Lucille and how God had put it upon my heart to go and look for her there.

After my friend had left, I went to my computer. (I needed to try and get an Algebra assignment in.) Sitting there by my keyboard was a twenty dollar bill. Before my friend had left, she had snuck in here and left the money on my desk. Smiling, and in shock, I sat here and shook my head, and then I laughed. I knew exactly how Lucille had felt earlier.

I love that life is so beautiful. (So hard sometimes!) But so beautiful, and our lives can be touched by total strangers…


4 responses

  1. Can we be total strangers if we are all connected?

    May 15, 2013 at 6:03 pm

  2. Hi …. Thanx for your post. …. this is something I don’t take too lightly. … and for some time now, actually ….. YEARS. ….. i haven’t gone to church and broken my ties with everything religious and the church per se ……
    My wife and I have been living separately and my world has turned upside down in all areas of my life. ….
    Three months ago I was diagnosed with ADHD ….. and EVERYTHING …. that has been happening ….. ALL my life ….. started to make sense. …
    I have no idea how to make amends with people and friends I have wronged over the years. …
    You post is a small seed that gives me hope to just put one foot forward and give it a go. ….. Thanks yet again. ….

    June 3, 2014 at 1:48 pm

    • I haven’t been to Church in more than 2 years and have nothing to do with my extended family (siblings, etc.), simply because, my siblings have chosen to thrust me out of the “sanctuaries of their hearts”. That is not to say that the Church is at fault. It’s not the Church, and it’s certainly not God- God is Holy. People are flawed and the pathetic “positions” that they clamour for are as well. My siblings have collectively thrown me into a pit- not unlike Joseph and his siblings- therefore, I do not acknowledge them. But I can’t be mad at God for it, right?! So, God and I are friends. He understands the petty lust in human hearts and its thirst to be “praised”. What we see as an injustice may just be God dressing up a blessing for us, so then we can thank Him for all pain as well as pleasure. God is JUST- always, no matter what. It’s our perception that is unjust.

      Continue to be thankful for the hard things in your life. I know that’s a tall request! Remember that in every group of society, there will be a few bad apples. The Church is no different. So then, recognize that a few “bad apples” have wronged you, and not the entire Church. Love them if you can! Let God do the rest. xo

      And thanks so much for dropping by. ADHD may seem like a scary concept- but let it be your friend. It gets a bad rap! Patience and understanding are the keys, but so is education. Research the brain and ADHD so you can learn it from the inside and out; that way, you can choose which behaviors you’ll want to keep, and which you think need modifying.

      All the best. Chin up! 😉 – Birgitta

      June 3, 2014 at 6:33 pm


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