Pass it forward, and find great joy
I don’t like giving. I LOVE giving. And it started because of friend I hardly knew.
Years ago when I was single and struggling to make ends meet, I needed new contacts, but they were extremely expensive – about $200/pair for hard contacts for my very low vision – and I simply did not have the funds. So I squinted a lot. One night at a Bible study, I was apparently squinting to see the video sermon we were watching. The next week when I went back to the study, my friend Jill pulled me aside and asked if I needed new contacts. I said yes. She said, “please hold out your hand”, which I did. She handed me several $20 bills. She said that her new boyfriend Vish, who also wore contacts and glasses, noticed my squinting, and figured I needed new correction, but couldn’t afford it. HE wanted to enable me to get new contacts or glasses. If I needed more money, I was instructed to please ask him for more.
I was stunned – I had met him only a couple of times. I cried. Later, they also bought me a Christmas tree when I couldn’t afford the $20 for that, either. That memory stayed with me, and I wanted to be able to pass it forward myself some day.
Fast forward a couple of years to when I am happily married. I am driving to work one day when I scratch and itch on my face, and one of my Very Expensive contacts pops out of my eye. I search for it, but can’t find it. I worked with a young guy who also had vision issues, so I figure he would understand the urgency of finding the wayward visual aide. I asked him to please be my extra set of eyes, and see if he can find it. He sits, looks down, and immediately spots it. Praise the Lord, I don’t need to get new contacts!
I happened to know that this kid needed new contacts, but had no insurance as he worked part time while going to school. When I went home that night I told my husband what happened, and asked if I could give this young man enough money to buy new contacts – recalling what Vish had done for me years before. My beloved enthusiastically said yes, and we quickly went to the bank. If I had not found that lost contact, I would have to spend money to replace it; we may as well spend the funds another way.
The next morning I could hardly wait to get to work so I could “give it forward” When my colleague came in, I asked if he could do me another favor. I asked him to hold out his hand, and placed in it an envelope containing the money for HIS new contacts. Now it was his turn to be stunned.
That feeling was incredible – to be able to bless another person, with no expectation of return, but just for the joy.
Sixteen years later, my husband and I still LOVE to give – to our church, charities, friends in need, or complete strangers. We firmly believe that once one learns the joy of unconditioinal giving, you will become hooked and want to do the same with unabounded joy. Seeing the reaction of people to whom we give financially, materially, or physically, is one of the greatest thrills and feelings fo satisfaction. Try it, you’ll like it!