“Pay it forward.” This is a term that I’m sure we are all familiar with. It originated with Lily Hardy Hammond in her 1916 book In the Garden of Delight. She described this “deed” as “alternative giving,” I love this because alternative means different, and giving means generosity. I always thought of “pay it forward” as an on going movement. Something we can all do because we’ve been motivated or inspired by someone else’s generosity or kind act. To pay it forward, in a sense, is to continue the act of showing love because of love.
No matter what situation or circumstance we are facing, we’ve all been equipped with the “tools” we need in order to survive. Some days it may feel like the tool we need is buried deep within our junk drawers, but we know it’s there. Some days it feels like; if I have to pick up that tool one more time to fix ……, I’m going to flip my flip’n lid! Some days it may feel like, THANK GOD I have this tool. I’d be completely lost in this life without it. Some days it may feel like; I’m standing in this tool aisle without one clue of which to choose. Within each of us, our tool box exists. For me; the way my day goes, my job performance, how I react to Jake or the girls, the way I treat my family and friends, my outlook, depends on my attitude towards my “tools.”
I hear more often than not “I have no clue how you do what you do.” I hear it about the way I work out, the marathons I run, dealing with the situation with Livia, the foundation stuff, etc. etc. But the same thing comes to mind every time I hear this. I do it because I love it. I could write an entire separate blog about why I run and workout, but I’ll just keep it simple here. It’s therapy, and I like being healthy. If exercise or endorphin’s could be put in a pill, Walgreens wouldn’t be able to keep it on the shelf. It’s not always easy, and some days my body is tired, but my “tool” with exercise is survival. Exercise #1 makes me feel better. Exercise helps me keep ahead of the physical demands I need with Liv. Exercise also has created many many awesome relationships that I’m so thankful for. I’d say everything else on my list, I equip myself with love. I used to be hesitant about writing about love, or saying how getting through this journey is easier because of love. But ya know what, it is. These circumstances or situations we are facing are all lessons. Having Liv and this journey we are facing with her has flipped this switch inside of me. I reflect, a lot. I think about growing up, family situations, personal decisions, wrong doings, great doings, and how I’ve been shaped through all of it. The attitude we give towards whatever we are facing is going to determine the character, the strength, and the success in life. In no way do I think I have everything figured out. But what I do know is that I’m able to do what I do, and function, because of love.
This past Sunday, my family of 4 was out at breakfast after church. Our server was very attentive to our needs and frequented our table. Especially at the end of our meal. Even after I sent the girls milk back for tasting “off,” she presented at our table with a huge smile. The last visit to our table she said “is there anything else I can get for you?” Jake responded with “no thank you, just our check.” The waitress smiled even bigger and said “NO, your bill has been taken care of.” Jake and I both looked at each other, jaws on table, asking why. She explained that she and another one of the servers had paid for our bill. She looked at me and asked if she could hug me. She told me that she recognized us and had seen our story on facebook. She explained that she wanted to “pay if forward” to us for “doing such a good job and being an inspiration.” In that moment, if my heart could have exploded, it would have. Jake and I sobbed. I was so humbled and touched that this 20 something server was showing us this love and generosity. This situation, this lesson, taught me how I want to be. Generosity is a HUGE value that, personally, I’ve had to evolve with. (another blog topic) In a way I feel undeserving because I’m doing what I know how to do. Loving my family, taking care of my children’s needs, it’s all easy. I would take care of my girls for the rest of my life if I had to. I appreciate the server’s generosity so much. I wish I would have asked her name. I wish I would have found a manager and asked him/her to give their amazing servers a raise. I told Jake that someday, when we are old, and it’s our time to “pay it forward,” I want to do things like this. If we come across a special needs family, I want to buy them a pack of diapers, because we know how it feels to be recipients of love.
The #1 lesson I’ve learned having Liv is because of her perfect innocence. Even though Livia can not speak, her actions speak volumes. Livia thrives on being around others. She loves to hold anyone’s hand. She stares into people’s faces. She especially stares at people who have a visible, loving, tender soul. She knows. Liv has taught me something that I know, without her, I would have never recognized. We were created to love one another. All she knows, all she wants, is to be near people. If we all were that way, if we all just loved, wouldn’t this world be a more pleasant place?