paying it forward

This morning, I made sure to leave the house early enough to get coffee. Most mornings, I will make coffee once I get to work, but today, I needed to be caffeinated as soon as possible.

As I pulled into the Starbucks drive thru near my house, there was only one car in front of me. hallelujah, coffee would be on the way soon! I ordered my drink, and pulled forward. If you know me, you know that no matter what, at some point in the morning, I need coffee and I need food. The sooner, the better. I sometimes think I am the walking embodiment of “but first, coffee”…and this morning I was especially groggy, and, I confess I was not all that excited about the day ahead.

But, I had great hope in the power of this cup of coffee with cream and caramel…so  I pulled forward and greeted the girl who would deliver it to my hands. As I went to hand her my phone to have her scan and charge me for the coffee, she handed me my cup and said “the woman in front of you paid for your coffee, you’re all set, enjoy your day!”…at 6:15 in the morning, there isn’t much that can make me smile…but this, this made me all but giddy.  I said “well, here, let me pay for the person behind me.”…sadly, at 6:15 in the morning, there was not the same line I am accustomed to seeing on a Saturday morning- so there was no one for me to spread the same joy to. This made me feel a bit guilty- like I had been given a gift with the responsibility to pass it on. But the reality is that the person who bought my coffee did so not to make me feel burdened or obligated, they did so to brighten my morning- this is the gift of joy.

So with that attitude in mind, I turned on the radio and said to myself “Today is going to be a great day!” But here I am, almost 7 hours later feeling the need to pay it forward, not out of obligation, but because I want to share the feeling I have had all day with someone else.

As I sit pondering about how to best pay it forward, I also wonder, why did it take someone buying me a cup of coffee to celebrate the day ? Each day, I greet the children at work with “this is the day that the Lord has made!” and we say together “Let us rejoice and be glad in it!”

What would it be if we rejoiced each day, spreading love and joy simply because we have been given another day to do so?

May we all find ways to pay joy forward, in cups of coffee, in hugs, in going out of our way for others. May we make our corner of the world brighter, one morning at a time!

pjp.

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out of the bag…

Yesterday was Valentine’s Day. A day that I have usually just kind of endured for the last few years- it hasn’t felt too terribly special, or had too much meaning. But yesterday, my world changed. The relationship that I have been holding close and private while figuring it all out, went public. Complete with Valentine’s messages and social media posts. Part of me was anxious as we exposed this precious thing to the world- I wanted to protect it. But, as the day went on, and the expressions of joy for the two of us rolled in, I realized that for the first time in my life, I don’t care what others think.

Many have asked questions about what this means, and my response has been this: it means I am happy. I am happy in the way that I didn’t know to expect- a way that gives me space to rest and be exactly who I am- good and bad. At the end of the day, there will be those who are happy for us, and those who aren’t. But that is on them, and it is not mine to carry.

Many have asked why we kept it quiet, private, to ourselves. My response: mainly because it is no one’s business. I don’t mean that to be rude, but it is ours. But now, we are at a place where we are ready to live fully in the light.

There comes a point in life where the “should’s” go out the window, and the only option is to live doing what makes you happy- and really, when I think about the love that God has placed in my heart and my life, I can’t imagine not sharing that we have found our hearts home in one another. Love is meant to be shared, to grow, and to expand the lives of everyone- and for the first time, I am living into love in such away that has broken down walls  that keep me from relationship with others. Love has freed me, and here’s the thing- I didn’t even know I was captive.

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Life is good, love is wonderful, and I am in a relationship that honors my love language of cupcakes. What else could a girl ask for?

Be well friends, and may you be loved extravagantly.

pjp