I saw something this morning that started me to thinking. A friend of mine posted a note about 'paying it forward.' This is a slogan that has become very popular in recent years. The gist of its meaning is that we should all do a good deed for someone now and then. Spreading kindness reaps kindness. Good karma is something that we can all do with an abundance of in this day and age. So many terrible things are going on in the world and honestly there are times when it all gets very depressing; some days you just don't want to get out of bed. Unfortunately, not many of us have the luxury of staying under the covers when the world gets looking too dark. There are things to be done and places to be and responsibilities that have to be taken care of. Paying it forward doesn't always seem to be the handiest thing, does it?
Life is uncertain for so many. The country remains in an unstable state. Despite all the promising moves that President Obama has made, people aren't yet ready to embrace the future. The economy looks like it's slowly beginning to recover but it will be a long time before we find things in the shape they were a few years ago. Too much has happened to dampen the confidence of the American people in recent years and this has spilled over to the rest of the world. The global climate scares me and I am not alone in this fear. Who knows where it will lead or how long we'll have to endure these unsteady times. We can only have faith that we'll make it through.
This is where I see the adage of paying it forward coming into play. It surely is a good idea. If we begin to do things for others like what we would like to have done for us, then the rewards for it might be much more than we expect. I am beginning to believe that this is what is slowly happening. Seeing President Obama reach out to nations like Cuba was a complete surprise to me, and I must admit that I had mixed feelings about it, but trying to build a better relationship with nations that we have had a long and rocky history with cannot possibly be a bad thing. We don't have to embrace the way some other countries live but we can show them that we respect their right to live as they choose. All we ask in return is the same courtesy.
It's happening here at home too. More and more states are beginning to recognize the illegality and the discrimination present in denying gay couples the right to marry. The law is being interpreted the way it was written and individual rights are coming to the forefront for the first time in the history of the United States. As states grant marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples, they are recognizing them as equal citizens with the same rights as anyone else. Why are we one of the last countries to see this? Other nations already make provisions for same sex couples; whether through marriage or civil unions. It all boils down to the fact that you just can't ignore civil rights.
A lot of the people I know think that I look at the world through rose colored glasses. I don't at all. I know exactly what the world is and I don't really like it. I don't see it through rose colored glasses; I want the world to be rose colored! Paying it forward adds to the tint I'd like to see. We need to get back to the basics of being human. Respecting one another is the easiest and yet the single most important thing we can do to start making our world a better place.
Nobody is perfect and we all fall way short of our potential. Yet this isn't about perfection. It's about striving together to make things better for all of us. It's about seeing that people can have life according to their own values without infringing on each other. It's about making little contributions to the world that will add up to a big deposit in the karma account. It's about paying it forward.
I've always been a giver. I don't know why because there haven't been a lot of people in my life who gave to me. So many times I've felt like the world stopped turning and the sun froze in the sky and I just couldn't understand why everybody else wasn't falling over paralyzed like I was. These were the low points in my life. The times when I'd been hurt by others; often those I had done a lot for and thought cared about me the same way I cared about them. It hurt to find out that they didn't but I always survived and I always kept right on giving. I think this has made me a stronger person and I also hope that through my example I have made a difference.
The future is upon us. We cannot escape it and we cannot pretend that things aren't changing. Our job is to make the world a better place. For ourselves and for each other and for the generations that will follow us. Paying it forward now is the only way to accomplish this feat and I for one am ready to start doing my part. I want to have an impact on my world. We all do. Deep down, we all want to make our mark. Now is the time to do it. It's got to be a postive mark we make too.
And this is my sole focus for now.