Sunday, September 1, 2013

Pay It Forward!

"Pay It Forward" to everyone everywhere!
"Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom.  For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you."  Luke 6:38
    I'd like to share a "Pay It Forward" time in my life where others "Paid It Forward" to my entire family during the Christmas season when I was just 14 years old.  My Dad had to be away for his job a good bit during the year of 1969.  This kept him away during the time when Camille hit the area.  We were in Hattiesburg and were affected however not quite as harshly as those on the coastal areas. 
    Later in the year, just following Thanksgiving we, I'm one of six children, were at school one day but were instructed not to ride the bus but to wait for our Mom who came to pick us up.  We all knew there must be something out of the ordinary going on because she worked and got home just prior to our arrival on the bus.  She was there to tell us that our house was burned down.  We lost everything but the pictures.  They were all in bottom drawers in boxes and wrapped up!  Everything else, however was gone.  She had just the few days prior gotten all of our Christmas presents out of layaway and had them at home. 
     I can only imagine being in her shoes.  All six of us were parceled out to different families in the community in Petal, friends from church and school as well as neighbors, none of which any of us really knew very well prior to our house fire.  Daddy was in Illinois with no hope of returning until after the first of the year.  Mama was at that time the cafeteria manager at Thames Elementary in Hattiesburg. 
    Now comes the 'Pay It Forward' part!  As I write this I'm tingling and having a hard time seeing what I'm writing for the liquid buildup in my eyes!   The entire Thames Elementary School decided to take our family on as their family to buy for that Christmas!  As you might well imagine being in a family of six children we were not accustomed to receiving many gifts Christmas.  But that year we were given more than any of us ever had before that in our lives.  Also the gifts were much nicer than we'd ever received before.  I can remember many of the things I was given but the one thing that stands out most of all was a small goldtone filligree hand mirror with carved metal roses on it that was from my Girl Scout Leader, Mrs. Crowson.  As I think on that one little token of love that was 'Paid Forward' for me and all of our family I can totally count my blessings.  And guess what, I do NOT have any of those things and I'm quite sure none of the rest of my family have any of their gifts, either.  But the one thing we do have is the knowledge that when we were in need our community reached out to us in ways beyond our wildest imagination.  God will often show up 'with skin on' when we face desperate challenges and His skin is so soft.  The people were all so glad to do for us and we really didn't know how to take it - talk about humbling.
    Guess what else happened!  There was a knock on the door on Christmas Eve that startled everyone.  We were not expecting anyone else to visit as the gifts and food had arrived a few hours prior to that unexpected knock with a large effort of unloading gifts ensuing.  You may have guessed by now, Daddy had come home for Christmas!  Hugs and kisses and yes, tears and laughter were shared by all!
Merry Christmas & Happy New Year! 
Please always remember, when you "Pay It Forward" the recipient will often carry your gift of kindness in their heart for years to come, often for a lifetime! 
Jennie Heberg

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