When I was newly married, like most newlyweds, we didn’t have a lot of extra money. Especially not for shopping. Dave was in dental school and I was working hard to support us.
To top it off, I was commuting from Louisville, KY to Cincinnati, OH to work at Arthur Anderson, every day. Yep, that was about a 2 hour commute, each way! Not fun at all.
I was tired, the kind of tired where I accidentally put on two different shoes one morning and didn’t even discover it until halfway through work! Talk about embarrassing!
It wasn’t long before my wonderful mother came to my rescue. She had a dear friend, Judy Shuley, who lived in Ohio and arranged for me to sleep at her house a few nights per week.
It was a true miracle! Judy took me in like I was one of her own, and I couldn’t have been more grateful. She was an empty nester and made me feel genuinely welcome.
I had my own room, delicious meals and best of all, no long commute! It was heaven! Judy became my second mom during that time, and one evening after I returned from a long day at work, for no reason at all, she took me shopping.
I remember her taking me to the mall and surprising me saying “Pick out an outfit, anything you want!” I couldn’t believe it! Why was she being so generous? I felt so overwhelmed with gratitude, a little embarrassment, and tremendous glee as we tried on clothes.
We ended up choosing an outfit at Talbots, and she spent $100 dollars on me! WOW, I thought that was SO MUCH MONEY! Remember, this was about 25 years ago, and to me, that was so very generous.
As I gushed with thank you’s and how can I ever repay you …. I remember that all she said was, “Just promise me you’ll do the same some day.”
Some experiences in life have the ability to shape us. This was one of those. I committed right there and then that I would live an abundant life so that I could indeed pay it forward. I wanted to repeat that experience, but be on the other end.
I had a vision for my life, and that gift was far more impactful than my $100 dollar outfit!
Since that time, I’m happy to report that I have been able to pay it forward. Not in outfits necessarily, but in many small and simple opportunities to share abundance with others.
And you know what? It’s even better than I imagined. I’ve learned that it’s one thing to help yourself, but an entirely greater reward to help others.
So my challenge to you is to consider….Who are you helping by shining brightly yourself? Are you living an abundant life so that you can serve and help those around you?
If you’ll focus on that, I promise you’ll find joy beyond measure! And certainly greater than a new outfit!