|Pay it Forward The Movie 2000 with Helen Hunt & Kevin Spacey|
After I left Camp Young Judaea TX last Sunday, I stopped to buy water at the 1st gas station before I got onto the highway. When I went to pay, a man in line told me I could go first. I was not in a hurry & at 1st did not understand why he let me check out before him. He was leaning against the counter, with his shirt unbuttoned & his hand against his chest. It was 90 degrees outside & the man, who already had what used to be called a healthy tan, appeared to have the start of a sunburn. I asked if he was all right. He told me he was having an angina attack, but he would be OK. He said, "I've had them before, but I left my medicine at home. I walked too much today." I asked if he needed a ride. He said he would appreciate it & offered to pay me gas money. I told him there was no need to pay me anything & offered to take him to a hospital if he felt it was necessary. Since he lived close by, I asked the cashier who had been listening to our conversation, if he knew him & whether he could vouch for him. The cashier assured me he knew Joe & it was fine for me to drive him home. (If I disappeared, the cashier would know where to look for me!)
Joe also had an orange tree (more like a potted plant) that he had been carrying with him in the scorching Texas sun. He put the plant in the back seat & we began our journey. As he reached into his pocket, I told him again that there was no need for him to pay me. Instead, he pulled out his Veteran's ID card to let me know he had served our nation. He also apologized for having the smell of alcohol on his breath since he had taken a drink to help ease the pain. As he directed me to his home, a shack with a "roof that needs fixing," but he felt lucky to be able to rent it for only $415 a month.
When we got to his place, he asked if I would mind praying with him. When I agreed, he asked if he could hold my hand. He thanked Jesus for getting him home safely & then he prayed for my safe return home. When I was a child, I would mouth the words of Christmas carols thinking it was against my religion to sing words that were not my religion's beliefs, but I felt honored to be included in Joe's prayer. When he got out of the car & took his orange tree, he stumbled a bit & told me that he has neuropathy in both feet.
I felt I had done the right thing & may have saved Joe from having a heart attack, but was most touched by his prayer for me. When he showed me his Veteran's ID, I started to tell him about Higher Ground & the great work they do to help veterans, but stopped myself. Instead, I am sharing this story with you & I hope that it will inspire you to pay it forward & help a veteran.
|In War there are no unwounded soldiers|
There are too many veterans, like Joe, living with multiple physical & invisible wounds on below poverty level incomes. As the T-shirt in the above picture says, "In war, there are no unwounded soldiers." I don't know if Joe has an alcohol addiction, but he does have a heart condition & appears to have diabetes. He can't afford a car in a place where there is virtually no public transportation. He is a proud man who is getting by with very little & thankful for what he has. Joe & all our veterans deserve more. Programs like Higher Ground use recreational followed by three years of vocational therapies to rehabilitate our war heroes.
|Recreational Therapies provided by Higher Ground|
You can Pay it Forward by buying a book which supports Higher Ground. When you finish reading the book, donate it to a library, encourage your friends or book club to do the same. Happy Pay It Forward Day. Let's make it 365 days a year!