Phil and I were running late this morning, so I suggested I would pick up coffee and egg sandwiches from Dunkin Donuts on the way to work. This is a rare treat for us, as we try to be very good about making our own coffee and protein shakes every morning. As I went to pull into Dunkin Donuts, a lady in a VW bug pulled in right before me from the other direction. I was annoyed because like I said, I was already late! Being late + uncaffeinated = miserable Colleen.
I sat behind her car in the line and read her bumper sticker: Spay and Neuter Animal Abusers along with a stick family of her with a bunch of cats. This just annoyed me even more as I'm not the biggest animal lover and I don't think pets should be considered someone's "babies". When she pulled up to the window to pay, she took a long time and then waved at me in her rear-view mirror. I was confused as to whom she was waving at, since there was nobody in front of her and only me behind her. She waved again at me and I thought that perhaps she was apologizing for taking such a long stinking time at the window.
Finally she pulled off and it was my turn to pay, and the DD cashier told me I was all set. The lady in front of me had paid for me! I was moved to tears and in shock, as this had never happened before. As I drove away, I felt really bad for judging that woman without knowing her. I had her pegged as a rude (she cut me off) hippy (the VW bug and wild hair) who hated children (hence all the cat babies). And here she was such a generous person who made my day and reminded me once again that we are all made in God's image and likeness. I can't judge the person, only the actions, and her actions were so good. I was the one in the wrong, and I quickly offered up a prayer of contrition and one for the nice hippy cat lady ;) Her Pay it Forward led me to Pray it Forward.
We don't all have to look a certain way, like the same music, have a certain number of children, give of our time and talents in the same way, have a sense of humor, donate to the same charity, read books, or worship God the same way. We are all unique! I often get stuck in a rut where I only want to be around like-minded people, but how is that really living life to the fullest? Did Jesus only hang out with the holy rollers? Nope! He could see every person's worth just because they were a child of God. There's no sense preaching to the choir when the choir already knows the lesson.
We have huge volumes of books full of saint stories - people who crossed the finish line into Heaven - with all sorts of temperaments and quirks. There's literally hundreds of examples of ways to earn eternal salvation, and I thank God for that because it gives me hope for myself. Now it's time to take that good deed received and lesson learned and Pay (and Pray) it Forward. Cheers to that!