I saw a video on Facebook this week that brought tears to my eyes. A boy had been bullied over his old shoes. But a young man bought him a pair of new, expensive shoes. (Wow, huge props to the man with the compassionate heart!) The reaction from the recipient was precious. My first thought after viewing the footage was that I hoped the bullied young man would pay that act of kindness forward to someone else someday.
Can you imagine how different our world would be if more of us did that? The video reminded me of a special gift I received. Back track with me to a moment many years ago…
Six weeks is a long time to vacation at the hospital. I learned that first-hand following a car accident where I broke my hip, my pelvic bone, fractured an ankle, had a concussion and picked shards of glass out of my face for days after the wreck.
To a mom with a four-year-old and four-month-old at home, the days seemed like they lasted forever, but I was blessed to have more than 100 friends who took time to visit me during those long weeks. Sweet Mrs. Templeton brought me homemade pizza—which tasted heavenly after all that hospital food. My friends, Debbie, Teresa and Paula, came every Sunday night after church. They brought bags of fast food and much-needed laughter.
It’s been 34 years since the wreck happened, and I’ve never forgotten how much all those visits meant to me—especially the one from my Mama Hollifield. I’d adopted Ed and Doris Hollifield years before when I was a teen spending time at their house with their daughter, Peggy.
My mother had some serious problems and home was often not a good place to be. Dad and Mama Hollifield’s house was a refuge, and I soaked in the warmth and love they so freely gave. Their house was full of teens, noise and laughter, and they treated me as one of their own.
So you can imagine how touched I was when Mama Hollifield walked into my hospital room. I knew the trip would take several hours out of her busy day.
But it was what she did as she was leaving that still makes me tear up. Mama Hollifield grabbed my hand and tucked a folded $100 bill into it. She said, “I know there are extra expenses with you being here for so long.” I knew she and Dad Hollifield worked hard for their money and that this was a sacrifice. I protested, but she insisted I keep it.
I determined that day that as God blessed me, I would pay Mama Hollifield’s gift forward whenever He nudged my heart. I’m grateful that God’s given me that opportunity many times over the years. And whenever the recipient has protested, I say, “It isn’t from me. It’s from Mama Hollifield.” And then I share the story about her gift.
Sweet friends, what could you pay forward today to someone who needs encouragement, support or love? I can promise you that you’ll be the one who gets the most out of the experience.
And if you don’t have your own story, just tell them it’s from Mama Hollifield.