07 July 2006

Pay It Forward

I never saw the movie Pay It Forward, with Kevin Spacey, Helen Hunt and Haley Joel Osment.

(****SPOILER ALERT!**** I knew, the very first time I saw the trailer, that the kid had to die in the end. Didn't you? Wasn't it just so blatantly obvious?)

I've been thinking about the concept of paying it forward for several months. I've done a few favors recently and that's all I ask...to pay it forward. Whether lending a co-worker ten bucks to get lunch or giving an acquaintance a ride home, a consideration of future benefit to another is always foremost in my mind even if it remains unsuggested.

I try to live a life of generosity. Generous of spirit, I try to accept people for what they are, believe they are who they claim to be and believe the best of someone until they prove they don't deserve it. I try to be generous with what I have, cooking for a neighbor, walking someone's dog while they're away, getting the mail, giving a ride, buying a meal. Mostly, I am generous with my openness...I will share my life, my viewpoint, my humor, my sympathy.

I never ask to be paid back. Well, almost never. (Towana...I still expect that $10 back, Biyatch! Shauna, Baby...you can
keep the lighter, Honey...close to your "heart!") My hope is that, through coming into contact with my openness, my humor, my sympathy or my generosity someone might be a little more likely to be more open, humorous, sympathetic and generous at some future point in their life, that they'll "pay it forward."

Seems to me this concept is not new. I seem to recall a movie with Rock Hudson and Jane Wyman and the wonderful Agnes Morehead. Magnificent Obsession, in which Rock had a miraculously positive interaction with an older healer (and later, mentor) and, in turn, had the chance to pay it forward. Nothing but thanks and a request to pay it forward required by the giver. Rock performed magnificently (hence, the title) but got rewarded in the end anyway...he got the girl. Whole lot of good it did him, too.

In a lovely little movie called People Will Talk, with Cary Grant, the gorgeous Jean Crain and the wonderful Finlay Currie, Dr. Praetorius saved a man from hanging and was paid back for that with the man's complete devotion. He never asked for rewards...they were freely offered. He left little trails of good will wherever he went and impacted and influenced almost everyone he came in contact with in the most positive way. Helping to make the world better a speck of it at a time is its own reward.

Seems to me there was someone else who asked for nothing but to pay it forward. He was here a long time ago and all he asked in return for his favor was for us to treat our brothers, each other as we would like to be treated. All he asked was that we love our sister as ourselves. It doesn't seem too much to ask.

So if I've ever done you a favor, remember...pay it forward, please.

Technorati tags: life / spirituality / self-awareness / world peace


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