Pay It Forward

I was reminded last night of a situation I found myself in Chicago a few years back around St. Patrick’s Day. Always aware of my surroundings and what I could walk into just down the road…

We had spent a rare night out sans children and stayed at a hotel downtown, and chose to sleep in and brunch it at the John Hancock building.  I chose to eat at an all-you-can-eat soup bistro. Totally delish! As I was decidedly full, I was informed by staff that I could take soup to go…so naturally, I loaded up (trust me, with the prices you pay there, it’s worth it to make your buck back).  I also gathered condiments and extra spoons and napkins.  As I left, I prayed.  I prayed hard.

On the streets in the heart of Chicago, you find more beggers than shoppers, but as I walked, I found God leading me to the quiet needy. At the end of the day, as we finished shopping a store on Michigan Avenue, I noticed a woman, sitting in the fetal position on the frozen concrete, trying to clutch a sign to hold up…her face buried in her arms.

I stopped.  I soon learned through gasps and tears her name was Mary, she has 5 children, and a nasty case of depression that prevented her from getting through an interview to land a job.  She needed food for her kids. Sadly, I had given it all away.  Instead, I asked if I could pray for her…to which she gratefully accepted.

So, there I kneel on the icy ground with Mary. My husband stood back watching, nervous and anxious as, I later learned, countless people walked by with looks of disgust at what I was doing.  I guess it’s because OMG who in the world would sit down with a poor, black, single mother and pray??? Me.

I don’t remember what I said, but as I finished, I found an extra bowl of crackers in my pocket…which was all I had to offer her. She looked up, still weeping, and said “Thank you. You’re an angel. I needed you today.”

After that, we walked…and walked, and walked.  I could sense my husband was processing.  He later grabbed me and hugged me tight.

The point of this post??? To toot my own horn, of course!  Of course!  That’s totally me.  Actually, though he never told until later, my husband told me it was an inspiration (which I may post about later), which led him to follow in the practice of random acts of kindness.

For me, it wasn’t a singular feel-good moment, it is a regular practice in my life…because that is what God commanded me to do.  It’s what we are all supposed to do.  Follow the Golden Rule…trust me.

***This is a true story brought to you by a Tea Partier. THIS is who we are!

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Jen Ennenbach

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