Pay It Forward

“I think you can scare somebody out of doing something, but not out of feeling like they want to.”  – Catherin Ryan Hyde, Chasing Windmills

A few weeks ago while I was on the bus on my way to work, a lady got on a few stops after mine.  After she boarded I had a hard time concentrating on the book I was reading, which I really wanted to read.  My commute time is my reading time, and I am really jealous of that time, so needless to say I wasn’t a happy camper.

bus commute

This wasn’t the first time this happened with this lady.  If the timing is perfect, our paths can cross easily a few times a week, which means I don’t get to read.  That day I had enough of the struggle and just sat there and listened to her message.  Let me explain what happened.

I’d like to think that I’m a non-judgemental person, and I do believe that everyone has freedom of speech, and a right to their own opinions.  But this lady was just driving me bonkers that day.  She was preaching very loudly about the fact that God watches everyone therefore we need to be careful of what we do, and that there really is a place called hell.  She would stress that in order to avoid hell we need to follow what the bible says, or else God will punish us and send us to an eternal life in purgatory. She went on to say that God will be angry if we let Jesus’ death to wipe our sins away be a waste of time.  She would go on and on until we reached the subway station, and continue until she got onto the subway and went her own way.  What a heavy message to hear first thing in the morning!

This time while she preached, I observed the people on the bus and how they reacted.  They wouldn’t look her way, would avoid eye contact with her.  I could see that many people didn’t want to hear her, and some looked uncomfortable.  I know that although I was listening to her, I too felt uncomfortable. I had a hard time relating with the message she was trying to convey – that God was an entity of judgement, anger, and something to be fearful of.  I didn’t like the emotions which were being drawn up in me from this.  I was glad when she was no longer near me.

One afternoon this week while I was on my way home , I was on the subway reading my book when someone caught my attention.  A beautiful, older lady who had an amazing presence about her and radiated joy and love walked by me.  I was totally enraptured with her, to the point that I couldn’t take my eyes off of her.  Once she reached the front end of the subway, close to where I was sitting, she would go up to every person, stand in front of them and say “You are beautiful.  God loves you.  God bless you.”  I was totally taken aback by that.  She had such a loving way about her, and was delivering such a beautiful message.  Witnessing what this woman was doing, I felt my heart swell and found myself smiling.  I’m by all means not religious, but when she stood in front of me, and said those words, I found myself saying “thank you, and God bless you.”  I don’t know why I did that, it just felt like the right thing to do.

But the strangest thing happened.  I noticed, that although she was delivering a completely different message than the other lady on the bus, the one who spoke of a mean God, this woman received the same reaction.  No one would look at her, give her the time of day.  I know that I didn’t have the same feelings come up inside of me – this time I felt cozy and warm inside and for the rest of the day I felt better, more happy, and I paid it forward.  I was more loving and kind towards others, I held open doors, gave my seat to someone who needed it, and smiled at strangers.  I just didn’t understand why the others on the subway didn’t see what I saw, and reacted the way they did.  Were they threatened by her?  Were they afraid of what others would think if she responded?  Or is it because she used the word “God” and “love”?  I don’t know.  Like I said before I’m not religious at all, but I understood what she was saying.  She was saying that I am special, I am loved.  Who doesn’t want to hear that?  Who cares that she is a total stranger, the fact of the matter is, she is spreading love and joy to everyone, and people, we need it and should pay it forward.

This video which has been viral on Facebook says it all.  Enjoy. Pay it forward.

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