Lazy Sundays always have me hankerin' for a tasty coffee, something I don't usually indulge in at home so I have to leave the comforts of my bed to get one. I was in the drive thru and ready to pay for my coffee. As I pulled up, and held out my change I was told that it was paid for and to pay it forward!
Never have I been on the receiving end of a RAOK and, I must say, it threw me.
At first I was shocked, then filled with humble gratitude, which was followed up with guilt that I didn't express more gratitude in my shocked state, followed by a lump in my throat that I was enjoying free coffee because of the kindness of a random stranger who I would never get to actually thank.
The thoughts, however, that followed really...well....got me thinking. I found myself first hoping that this was a sign of more blessings of the universe to come which then lead to me justifying why I seemed to be next in line for karmic outpouring as I thought of the moments I've done little acts of kindness for others. Because I had been kind then I deserved this small kindness.
That word "deserved" brought me back to the work of Brené Brown. I realised that I was trying to justify my worthiness. It wasn't just enough that I am just here, on this planet, in search of a coffee, that I should benefit from the kindness of another.
Then I started to think of these stories I hear and I realised that I always pictured the recipients of these RAOK to always be those down and out. So Ego jumped in and said, yeah, you're not down and out! You don't deserve a free coffee when there are others who have way less than you!
I find it funny when we deny the kindness of others, strangers or even those who know us. I remember as a child watching my parents argue with my grandparents over who was going to cover the bill of the meal we all just enjoyed together. Like, really argue to the point of walking away in frustration. One time I event watched as my Grandfather "went to the bathroom" so that he could give the waitress his credit card in advance of the meal even starting. Then, as my parents and aunts and uncles later realised their meal had been covered, chaos ensued. I remember thinking, he just wants to give the gift of a lovely meal to his family and you guys are all getting mad at him!?! I vowed from that moment that when ever someone offered to pay for my coffee or meal I would not go through the song and dance of, "no, you can't, you shouldn't!". I vowed that I would simply be grateful and receive the gift that they obviously agreed to offer.
Which is why it was interesting that I had the reaction I did to this RAOK. I don't know this person, will never meet them and will have never had an opportunity to thank them and here I was receiving a gift. This was a whole new level of receiving. This was receiving on a cosmic level because there really was nothing I did to "earn" this gift.
This is the heart of worthiness, that every man, woman and child that treads upon this earth is worth of kindness. No matter how big the bank account or how little, no matter how many kind things they have done or pain they may have cost, at the core of every being is a heart longing to be loved and to love.
So, my call to action is show someone their worthiness and extend your hand in some way of kindness. Whether it's spending an extra $3 to buy a stranger a coffee or reminding someone in your life how much they are loved simply because they draw breath.
And then receive the love in return that you are worthy of - the love of the sun as it shines on your face, the air in your lungs and, I hope, the love of those in your love!