Pay it Forward

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During the holidays, we participate in the “Elf on the Shelf” Christmas tradition. Our elf is Matthew Frickle, and he became a part of our holiday family four or five years ago. Even though the kids know Matthew Frickle doesn’t have the “magic” they once believed he had, they still enjoy looking for him every morning. In an effort to keep the elf sightings fresh and exciting, I began making costumes for him. At times, I’d pick up “props” from the Dollar Tree to make it even more fun.

Two years ago, I went on a Dollar Tree run for elf props and found all kinds of cute things; a basketball game, pool table, and a miniature guitar. I pulled the guitar off of the shelf, caught a glance at the back of it, and there was a dollar bill taped to the back with the words, “God loves You ” written in marker. It touched me because even though it was a small, random act of kindness, the selfless act was huge. I remember thinking even though I didn’t need the dollar, the fact that someone thought to make a stranger’s day a little brighter, both financially and spiritually, made my day.

I began to think about the phantom “Good Samaritan”, and wondered what made them do it. I wish I knew them so I could ask what was their motivation. Realizing I’d never get my question answered, I searched for my own answers and decided to “Pay it Forward”. When I began working on my “40 Days to 40” list several months ago, I though about that Dollar Tree experience and knew I had to add “Pay it Forward” to the list.

Part of what made the Dollar Tree experience so beautiful was not only the fact that I was unexpectedly gifted a dollar by a phantom stranger, but they left a message for me that said, “God loves You.” We all know God loves us and feel God loves us, but it’s always good when you get a message in a word, song, picture or deed. Apparently, that miniature guitar was meant for me to have, and the note was meant for me to read. GOD LOVES ME. You can never have too many reminders of that.

Last night, I took ten dollar-bills out of my wallet and decided today would be my “Pay it Forward” day. To make the experience unique from my initial one, I wrote, “God Bless” on each dollar. It was a prayer and a reminder for the receiver. I wanted them to know that they are blessed, and that I pray God continues to bless them. I went to two different Dollar Trees…one on College Drive by the kids school, and the other on O’Neal, by my house. I felt like I was on a covert operation, because I didn’t want anyone to see what I was doing. I had to be incognito.

I’d found aisles with every-day goods and no shoppers so I could successfully complete the mission. I pulled two pieces of tape out of my purse and grabbed a dollar that was strategically placed on top  of my wallet so I wouldn’t have to fumble around looking for it.  I quickly picked up the item and taped the dollar to the back with the “God Bless” side visible, then I placed the item back on the shelf where I found it. After finding five suitable items, I headed out for the next Dollar Tree.

I know ten dollars isn’t a lot of money and I’m quite aware that one dollar won’t make or break a person, but it felt good to do it. You never know, that dollar could mean one extra can of veggies, or the pack of paper towels they had to put back because they didn’t have enough on them, or maybe the message will touch their heart and make their day a little brighter. Maybe they will want to “Pay It Forward” to someone else! However the unexpected “gift” impacts the finder, I hope moves them in a positive way. If I can make someone feel as good as I felt when I found my “gift”, my mission and goal were both accomplished.

God Bless.


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