Paying It Forward

After the Connecticut school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in 2012, my daughter and I accepted a challenge to go out and do 26 random acts of kindness in memory of the 26 innocent victims. When I went out, I looked for ways to show kindness.

I was derailed three months later when I lost my sister—the world became dark to me.Β Years of struggling to climb out of the crap hole that kept getting deeper, finally broke me. I started staying at home. In psychiatric terms it’s called isolating oneself.

Recently my daughter and I watched the movie Pay It Forward. The little boy in the movie started a movement to pay it forward. He chose three people to help–hoping that his compassion would change their lives. His hope was that each of the three people he chose would pay it forward to another three. The three they chose would in turn, do something to change the lives of three more, and so on…

Pay it forward….random acts of kindness….being present when someone needs support, and doing something to help.

Have I performed any act, or said something which helped one person change the direction of their life—who in turn, helped another and another?

I have had many people help me put my life back together but I continue to isolate myself. Partly because I’m an introvert and constant activity—especially around masses of people— exhausts me. It’s more peaceful for me to simply stay home and avoid the discomfort. Also, isolating myself has become a habit….a bad habit.

It’s time for me to pay it forward.

My life was saved in more ways than one.

I may not feel that I could possibly have an impact on the life of a stranger, but the little boy in the movie felt the same way. He had no clue how many lives were changed by one of his simple acts of compassion.

One tiny drop causes a ripple.

I need to get out more often and make some waves. πŸ˜€


About April

I'll come back to this when I find out who I really am. I've been through some extremely rough patches but they have made me a better person. I blog if my brain is functioning first thing in the morning.
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25 Responses to Paying It Forward

  1. Please continue to post about your experiences. It will be helpful to me and I’m sure to many more who are in similar situations. Best wishes getting “out there.”

    • April says:

      I think I will be stepping a toe “out there”, but I’m getting a little lonely in the house. I will keep writing, I happy that you read πŸ˜€

  2. joey says:

    I love that last sentence. When I go out, I always go optimistically, with the intention of being truly kind — most of the time I am not deterred by others I encounter, and even when I am, I usually rebound quickly. Your waves would be a lovely addition to ‘out there.’

    • April says:

      I’m seeing more of myself through the eyes of others each day. Isolation at home can also mean shutting off anybody in public. I need to stop that! There are people all around us that could use a little something to get through the day—or to change their lives. Maybe this movie was the kick in the ass I needed.

  3. Gallivanta says:

    You can ‘pay it forward’ with a smile. πŸ˜‰

  4. meANXIETYme says:

    I totally understand your desire to stop isolating and “get out there”. I also would hope that you realize that you do pay it forward by sharing your life on your blog. As Maggie said, your experiences are helpful to many, including me. πŸ™‚

  5. aviets says:

    I love that you and your daughter chose that way to honor the people killed in Newtown. What a beautiful tribute. And I hope you realize that your blogging is a way of paying it forward – I’m confident that your honest writing has helped many people.

    • April says:

      Thanks. Sometimes I wonder if I bring out too much of my negative perspective. However, I keep trying….that’s all I can do.

  6. I am sure you ARE making a difference just by being who you are.. πŸ™‚ A great Movie, and we don’t have to do great acts, just small acts like helping someone loaded with shopping, helping a struggling Mum on a bus, or opening a door.. small things matter… And of course there is always that lovely smile.. who wouldn’t have their day made if you gave them that smile πŸ™‚

    Hugs.. ❀ Sue

  7. mewhoami says:

    You’ve already made a difference in my life. My perspective about depression has changed because of you and I have used what I’ve learned from you to help others. You’re already paying it forward. But I do realize that to do something that you can physically see can be different and greatly rewarding. Still, please know that you are already making a difference in the world whether you see it or not.

    • April says:

      I don’t necessarily need to see the difference I can make, I just want to believe in myself enough to know that I do have a chance to change the direction of someone’s life. I think what I mean is that we never know when one act of kindness could change a person’s day…week…life.

  8. reocochran says:

    April, I really liked how you shared more about your last 3 years since Sandy Hook. I am very sorry about the loss of your sister. I realize this is belated but your emotions continue and sending you hugs for those moments.β™‘β™‘

    It is okay to not worry about the number 26 or about how or when. I am like your friends here who have gotten to know you and find strength in your brave choices (I am happy you chose to make that airplane trip which helps me face a fear I have had since 9/11/01.)
    Go ahead and make some waves or start with little ripples, April.

  9. socialbridge says:

    Deepest sympathy on the loss of your sister. Please don’t be too hard on yourself as such losses can be very tough indeed.
    Ripples are beautiful and this post is already spreading them. xx

  10. I can feel your ripples from here. I appreciate learning from you. I appreciate your openness and willingness to share. And I appreciate the feedback of the other comments April. There’s ripples going far from here….

  11. You are doing so very well April, day by day and one step at time. I’m sure, that you are spreading your light and online smile in here, which is one way to use the ripples πŸ˜€

  12. Elouise says:

    Thanks for what you’re doing with your blog! I think that’s a way to pay forward, too. We’re all hungry for human kindness and honesty.

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