Have you seen the movie, Paying Forward?  It is about a young boy who starts a movement that spreads all over the world by helping someone whom you may not even know.  The person who receives the favor must then pay forward by doing something good for someone else.  It’s a tear-jerking, feel-good movie meant to touch your emotions and perhaps even motivate you to do good.

About 30 years ago, I started visiting nursing homes.  I did it for about five years.  I would dress our daughter in her prettiest dresses and take her with me.  She would smile and charm all the residents.  They would ooh and ahh over her for as long as we would stay.

My purpose was somewhat selfish.  We lived 400 miles from my parents’ home.  I realized that when the time came for them to have a need for care and concern because of their old age, I would not be around to do it.  However, I wanted to sow seeds in the lives of others to ensure that my parents would receive the care they would need.  As it turned out, my sister and her family became their caregivers.  I’ll be eternally grateful for the care they received.

Last night, my paying forward reaped six personal faces.  Brad Shea of Able House brought a group of six to play hymns for my husband and me.  The name of the instrumental quartet and the two singers is The Hymnsters.  There was a clarinet, violin and two guitars.  They were extremely gifted and in our family room, their music was truly magnificent.

Frank and I sang and cried because of their great kindness.  “But we are the ones who were blessed,” Shea said as they headed toward our front door, while surrounded by our thanks and praises. 

Of course, our lives have been filled with kind people who do kind things for us.  Yet, in this time of need and weakness, The Hymnsters act of love and goodwill took on larger proportions.  Being a person who shows love is sometimes as easy as showing up and doing what you love to do.  Within the mentally challenged community, our teachers and volunteers are the type of people who show up and do what they love to do.  It is a good thing to remind our members occasionally how important their ministry is. 

Ed is a Bible teacher in one of our programs.  He has been faithfully serving for more than 10 years.  He has come to teach his class a few days after a stroke and less than a week after major surgery.  Our members genuinely adore him.  Occasionally, I will explain something to one of the members of his class.  They will look at me with skepticism and reply, “I’ll ask Ed about that.”

As Ed pays forward, I am praying that God will richly bless him, as much as Ed is blessing them.

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