Pay it forward is kind of a new pop expression. I don't know what Google would say it means but I think I know that it means doing the right and loving and relational thing in the now for the benefit of then. I'm thinking - How can I significantly pay forward in 2012?
2011? One thing about this year that stands out is how much I've learned - how to use Facebook marginally, how to be more proficient with a computer, how to understand Latin grammar concepts better than knowing them but well enough to teach them (still working on that one!), how to focus more on important things than just on the tyranny of urgent things, how to forgive even egregious sins and to walk away assimilating God's grace both for me and for the offender and many others.
A year ago I had a Facebook page my son set up but not a clue how to use it. The why use it is entirely because one daughter-in-law communicates almost exclusively thru Facebook. I haven't come to that easily. I JUST found out the difference between "home" and "news" yesterday. I have been asking and asking and no one seemed to know the difference. I'm much less frustrated since that small but significant discovery. I'm still working on Klout. I'm tweeting and making great friends and connections on Twitter. In short, I'm a pretty "with it" grandmother!
In the years of my lifetime our culture has changed in huge ways. We live much more insulated lives. We don't know our neighbors - due to many factors: business, the tyranny of the urgent and air conditioning. Air conditioning? You betcha - no one sits on their front porch or back porch fanning, chilling and talking like "back in the day" (as Pittsburgers say). We prefer our cool homes. There is little or no comraderie in that!
People who go to church don't feel long term commitments to that church so the first wind of change or unease that blows - off to try a greener pasture! Instead of looking in a book or asking a grandmother, we look for advice to blogs and Google. Instead of meals seated with the family at a table set with silverware and plates we drive thru and eat on the way!
Wait! Before you accuse my of cynicism, let me quickly affirm that I resemble all of the above! I don't know my neighbors. I too spend hours at my computer writing, reading and researching rather than turning outward with open hands and arms. I too have too often settled for "friending" online or email instead of knocking on a friend's door or sending a card or note.
At this time of year we reflect on how God chose to send His Son into the world and how God chose to announce that coming. If Jesus had come this year, surely God would have used the internet and television to get the word out. Perhaps God's choice of WHEN He sent His Son sends us a message. Jesus spent the last three years of His life involved with people in hands-on, intimate deep relationships! God still chooses to relate to us and have us relate to Him in deep relationship! In fact, God created us IN HIS OWN IMAGE so that we have an inescapable need for face-to-face, heart-to-heart relationships! It is that true belonging with God and others that satisfies the longings in our hearts and souls!
My prayer for 2012 is that I will take the risks and do the time and invest the energy to build deeper relationships with God and others! O, I won't desert Facebook or my computer. Those things are good and almost necessary in our culture BUT I also want to pursue the main and greater things of building and maintaining relationship with God and others! I can pay forward in 2012 only if and when God changes my heart to find more quiet space far from the rapid pace that life is! May God make it so in my heart in 2012!