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By Barbara Pounds

My life recently took a turn that I would rather have avoided but was inevitable. My apartment building underwent an extensive clean-up because of drugs and the resulting influx of people who didn’t care about the rest of the tenants.  Everyone on our floor became displaced and sent to an extended stay hotel.

Sometimes I encounter difficulties that seem daunting, but I persevere and usually come out just fine.  I have found that staying in a hotel instead of my apartment gives me unforeseen chances for personal growth.

A friend from my apartment building, now displaced in the same hotel, called and said she was out of food except for noodles. So I pulled some hamburger out of my freezer along with bread, a can of green beans, seasonings, and sauce out of my cupboard, and I took them over to her. While we visited, I mentioned that I was planning a trip to the food bank in a few days and encouraged her to come along. I also invited her for lunch with Meals On Wheels, where I regularly volunteer.

She later joined me for lunch where she met my friends, including one gentleman who was from her home country and they soon became fast friends. They even set up a time later so she could meet his wife. We went to the food bank together afterward and found provisions to hold us over. I told her I would help her until we were allowed back into our homes. Meals On Wheels provides lunches at our apartment building, so when she got back into her residence, she would have regular access to food.

I went to my volunteer job a few days later,  where I serve lunch to people from the community. I love my job and all the folks I have met over the past year. This day was special however, it was my birthday! And even though I had mentioned it the week before, it had slipped the minds of my colleagues. No big deal, I thought to myself. My daughter and a friend had sent me happy birthday texts I was content with. When my co-volunteers realized they’d forgotten my day, they all fussed over me. One of the ladies said she would make me a cake the next week, I thanked her and said I would eat it!

I was supposed to meet someone after work to celebrate, but unfortunately, she sent a message she needed to cancel our get-together. Struggling to let go of feelings of anger and disappointment, I realized I’d been looking forward to seeing them. Once I was honest with myself about my emotions, I conquered those feelings and headed to the hotel with a quick stop by my apartment building to pick up my mail. In the usual assortment of fliers and bills, was – aha – a birthday card! Juggling all my mail, I opened this special piece first and found a check tucked inside from my daughter and her husband.

I immediately headed to the bank, cashed it, and had it spent three different ways before I left the teller, haha! I decided to make something yummy for my birthday dinner! The store was three blocks from the hotel and walking was a good way for me to stretch my legs after work. I was soon browsing the grocery items and putting yummies into my cart. Quickly, I realized I better get going; I needed to carry all these things home, and three blocks now seemed like a long way! I found a checkout lane with only one person in it, and waited patiently for my turn. After the cashier scanned my groceries, I was dismayed to see they totaled more than my birthday money, so I asked the clerk to take off a few things.

The customer behind me, a woman I had never met before, said “I will pay for the items that she can’t afford.” My money was so tight, I graciously agreed. That is when the tears started. I was so emotional and elated that there were people in the world willing to help another human being. I could have refused the gesture, but that would have been a mistake. To receive more blessings, I must accept the blessings the universe and God offer to me. Giving is a gift, and we use it or lose it. So, I took the woman’s generosity, thanked her, hugged her, told her it was my birthday, and that she had just made my day! Shedding tears in public embarrasses me, so I hurried out with my purchases and headed quickly toward my temporary home.

As I put the groceries away, I thanked God and the universe for blessing me and for showing me that giving and receiving are both gifts that need to be used often. This lady showed me the face of God, and I will always remember the kindness that she expressed to a stranger. I am a grateful woman who will keep paying it forward.  Doing so is how I can help someone else see the light and to spread the love so sorely lacking in our society today.

Reach out, help someone, and pay it forward. Then do it again. And again. And again. Who knows, maybe we will start a revolution. A revolution of love.

Barbara Pounds is a certified Orthobionomy Massage Therapist. The late Dr. Edith Brow ND, etc…trained Barbara in Orthobionomy, Iridology, and Herbology. Dr. Brow encouraged Barbara to further her education. Barbara is entertaining either becoming a Licensed Healer or a Licensed Naturopathic Doctor.

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