At one point in the afternoon, I ventured ahead of my family, while they searched for a parking spot. With my chronic back conditions and Fibromyalgia, I’ve learned to pace myself. Or else I experience a painful flare up.
So instead of walking a long distance in the afternoon heat headed for 90 degrees, I opted to get dropped off at Cumberlands Falls. As my family drove away, I strolled over to a wooden bench to sit.
On the shady side, a stranger quietly sat on the bench. Since I didn’t know this young man, I sat on the opposite side in the sun.
I had shorts on and the bench was hot from the sunshine blasting on it. In an effort to not get burnt, I shifted my bare legs on the seat.
Unexpectedly, the stranger spoke to me. He asked me if I wanted to sit in the shade. I moved over a little bit and was glad to find relief in the shade.
The bearded man shared that he was accidentally locked out of his car. He was waiting for road side assistance to unlock his doors for him. Help wouldn’t come for a few hours.
In the meantime, a relative picked up his wife and kids. He didn’t want them to have to ruin their family fun or sit in the dreaded heat for a long time.
As we talked, we chatted about both of us having herniated discs and that medicine hasn’t been helpful to either of us. I shared about how CBD made from hemp oil has significantly improved my wellness. We talked about our lives as if we had known each other for years.
Out of nowhere, I sensed God nudge me to offer my cold bottle of water to this man. It was already extremely humid and hot outside. Who knew how long he would have to wait for someone to unlock his car door?
I did what Jesus would do. I handed the man my water bottle. In the warm temperatures, he had to be thirsty.
He was grateful and he thanked me. At that moment, my own family arrived. As I walked away from the stranger on the bench, I said a prayer for him. And I was thankful to pay it forward with cold water to quench his thirst in the sunshine.
Paying it forward doesn’t need to be luxurious. It’s not about money. Instead, I believe that paying it forward is about being kind. Giving compassion. Listening to someone who is down and out.
And when you see a need, no matter how large or small, you reach out to give help. A bottle of cold water may seem trivial, but to that man it could have been everything.
Ultimately, paying it forward has a ripple effect. It lifts a strangers spirit. It gives their lives value that they are important. And it touches souls in a positive way.
Today, be open for opportunities to pay it forward. If God prompts you to do something, trust that it’s for a good reason and follow however He leads.