Monday, February 07, 2011

Paying It Forward

When I was twelve years old my father left my family, leaving in his wake two young children, a wife who worked a minimum wage job, and little money to make ends meet. With five/six months before my parents divorce was finalized, my family survived on the kindness of others. I still vividly remember my mom's best friends, dear family friends whom I considered my aunt and uncle, walking into our house with bags of groceries with staples like peanut butter and jelly, macaroni and cheese, and a slew of other things. It wasn't easy for my mom to watch as her friends and family helped buy groceries or offered money for the mortgage payment but she humbly accepted their generosity. The years following the divorce were financially lean but we got by and most importantly, we survived.


Recently, a very close older friend, found herself going through a divorce. She has two young children who are the same age my brother and I were when my parents divorced. Having been there and knowing that my friends entire life was currently in state of upheaval and chaos, I did the only things I knew for sure to do. I volunteered (with his permission) my brother to help move furniture, but bed frames together, and haul other heavy things. I baked cookies, bought wine, and put together a big box of kitchen staples like peanut butter and jelly, sugar and flour. My mom listened with tissues in hand to hand them over when my friend needed someone else to be strong for her. Its hard to start over, even harder to start over when you're at an age where some of your friends are considering early retirement and you're moving to a new unfamiliar neighborhood.

Paying forward the kindness that was shown to me and my family during a difficult period of our life is incredibly important to me. I'm not sure  how we would have gotten through those times if not for those amazingly generous individuals.

Has there ever been a time in your life you were helped by the kindness of others? Have you ever had an opportunity to pay that kindness forward?