Thursday, December 26, 2013

A True Christmas Story

Several weeks ago on a Friday during Advent my mom and I stopped at a Bagel Shop.  We approached the counter and order bagels for lunch and picked three bags of last nights bagels which were half price.  After we told the cashier our order, she said thank you, you are all set.  I was confused by this answer and told her that I had not yet payed.  She said you are all set...PAY IT FORWARD.  My confused look brought on her explanation that someone had already payed for our food.  We took our bagels to a booth and wondered who it was that had been so kind as to pay for our lunch.  I wondered if it was someone I knew or could it be a stranger?

Then the next person went to the counter and was told the same thing...Pay it Forward.  

The timing of this act of kindness was at a very tense moment.  My mom and I were having a disagreement and tensions were high.  Also earlier in the morning there had been a request for help that had come.  This request of help came after one attempt to help this person and now there was a second request.  I was thinking about what to do that morning.  The word's of the women at the counter..PAY IT FORWARD spoke right to my heart.  It was as if the Lord Himself had said them.  There would be no mistake I knew what I was being asked to do.

As my mom and I sat eating our bagel, we were relatively silent save for a few comments regarding the unexpected free meal.  If the individual who had given the gift had seen us he or she might have thought this kindness had no effect on us.  My mom commented on the cost of the bill approximately 9 dollars which included the three bags of bagels.  She said, now we have to give the same.  I nodded and quietly ate the bagel.

After my mom dropped me home and left, this kind gesture circled over and over in my head.  I began working on what I was feeling called to do.  Two weeks later my mom was bringing me to the grocery store.  We passed a women ringing a bell collecting money for the salvation army.  My mom stopped,  she pulled out $10.00 to put in the pot.  I tried to stop her as I know what that 10 dollars means to my mom.  It represents half of her budget for groceries in a week as she is disabled and living on a fixed income.  She said no she really wanted to do this as she heard collections for the salvation army were very low this year and she had promised herself she would do this after being given the bagels at the shop.

Wow I was surprised. 

I have hesitated several times in sharing this story but finally decided to do so.  Not to shine any attention on something I might have done but rather on the influence the act of kindness had on those it met.  The kindness had come up against a moment of tension between a mother and a daughter.  It percolated and simmered.  Yet the kindness would not be snubbed out but rather it gained momentum and exponentially grew.  What it drew out came from a want and not an excess in the case of my mother.  I would rather not share what it brought forth in my case but be assured that on Christmas there was word from the individual needing help and the sound in his message was joyful.  

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