Pay it Forward

Amanda - Santa Barbara, California
Entered on December 18, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30
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On a warm summer day I entered into my local Albertsons grocery store. To my surprise the first thing that I saw was an elderly woman, in a wheel chair who seemed to be struggling with her bags of groceries that were fresh off the shelf. I realized that she could not open the door herself so I went out of my way to open the door for her, thinking nothing of the simple act of kindness. She looked stunned to see me walking over to her to offer my assistance. For a moment I thought she might have wanted to come off as independent so I felt a chill of guilt run up my spine. But her kind words that followed proceeded to warm my heart, she said “because of your kindness I feel inclined to do something nice for the next person I encounter, your compassion is contagious.” It was that day I stumbled upon my new belief that all of humanity is in need of understanding the necessity of having a spirit of compassion and carrying out the philosophy revealed in my grocery store experience which is that of paying it forward.

Ever since I was in middle school, I can vividly remember hearing people constantly telling me I was “too” compassionate for my own good.” But I do not believe that it is possible to be “too” compassionate. In fact I think compassion is necessary for survival in the world that we live in. I have always and will always genuinely care about my peers and their struggles. Humanity is in need of a heart that is broken over the suffering of people. If no one cares for the needs of anyone else than our world has become a broken world and we need compassion to heal our worlds brokenness.

Because of my spirit of compassion I am a firm believer in the idea of paying it forward. Therefore I have learned that the spirit of compassion should not be something that is situational. A homeless person who I have never met deserves the same compassion that my closest friend does just in context that is more applicable to their needs. Sharing compassion with a homeless person might be more beneficial to them than you would ever realize and it has the potential to motivate them to want to do something caring. If our world saw the necessity of sharing compassion with everyone despite their current circumstances would make the world a much more enjoyable place. Paying it forward has the potential to become a chain of benevolence that can change the world. My challenge to everyone is to intentionally pay it forward and try to find the joy in being a little more compassionate today and every day hereafter.