Sometimes we don’t allow ourselves to be aware of the influence our parents have on us. As soon as we’re old enough to reach our goals, we often attribute our successes on our own merit and efforts. This doesn’t mean that the groundwork for that success didn’t come from those who have had the most impact on our childhood.
My mother lives a life of limited means. She has a small, one bedroom apartment where she can be near my father who resides in a care home. They both reside in New Brunswick. My mother has been trying to reduce the amount of belongings in her apartment due to the lack of space. One of the items she has had for the past few years is a small wooden dining table coupled with a set of wooden chairs.
My grandmother had purchased this table set for several hundred dollars a few years ago. But since she herself has been relegated to a care home, she had turned it over to my mother. Mom has been keeping this table set in her bedroom, which has been a source of issue for her. She recently decided to try and sell the table set.
The apartment complex she lives in caters to retirees, and she was certain someone in the building could make use of the small table set. She drew a quick poster on a piece of plain paper and tacked it on the building’s bulletin board.
Not an hour had gone by, and my mother was visited at her apartment by a young man who was painting the unoccupied units for the building’s manager. He explained that he and his wife were recently married, starting out and looking for inexpensive furnishings for their home. He wanted to see the table set.
My mother showed him in and brought him to the table. He examined it carefully and felt that it could suit his household’s needs, but would need to confirm with his new bride and asked if he could take a photo, to which my mother obliged.
The young man asked how much my mother wanted for the table. After quick consideration, she indicated that she would like $100 for the table, since her own mother had purchased it at about four times that amount only a couple of years ago. The young man asked if my mother would be willing to accept $80. My mother mulled it over and stated that the young man should discuss with his wife and come back the following day should they decide to purchase and the price could be discussed then.
The following day, my mother brought her small car to the local dealership for some needed repairs. The car had been making a knocking sound for a couple of weeks, and one of my uncles advised her of the cause and the need for the repair. Having nowhere to go, my mother waited patiently for a couple of hours until the repairs were done.
When she approached the service desk to retrieve her keys, she was dismayed to hear that the bill amounted to nearly $200! once again, my mother is living on limited means and did not have the funds available for such a bill.
She was considering her options when one of the kinder employees looked into it and found an extended warranty that my mother had purchased along with the vehicle; one that was still in effect. With this added warranty, my mother owed nothing for the repair of the vehicle. The employee was satisfied to tear the invoice to pieces in front of my mother.
My mother was overwhelmed and SO thankful for the discovery. For those who know my mother, her eyes well up at the drop of a hat. And this occasion was no exception. She retrieved her vehicle and headed home.
Wondering about the young man and the dining table? Well, my mother was feeling deeply grateful at being spared the hardship of a bill she couldn’t afford. She couldn’t help but feel that she needed to repay this good fortune in some way.
She walked into the apartment building and went straight to the unit where the young man was painting along with others. She asked if he had discussed the table with his wife, to which the young man stated he had. The young man explained that they had very little money and only had about a spare $50 so they wouldn’t be able to buy the table.
My mother then asked the young man if he would be willing to buy it for $20, if he took it today after his work day ended. The young man was overwhelmed and accepted immediately. He was so excited, he asked the other painters if he could leave the work site for ten minutes to load the table into his truck right away.
As my mother was telling me the story of how all of this came about, I could hear the joy and pride in her voice. not only did she get some reprieve from financial hardship, she was able to do something great for a young couple starting out. And she felt that she had positively “paid it forward”.
That’s when my mother spoke the words that have been one of the main mantras of my life for decades: “Everything happens for a reason!”
Are you kidding me? I’ve been using that very saying for almost as long as I’ve been studying Buddhism, and here my mother was probably the one who planted the thought in me, years ago.
It’s important to remember that kindness begets kindness. Positivity brings about the optimistic and positive energy of the world and creates the environment we all want to be in. Be good to others, even if for no other reason than the act of being good. I can promise you that in the long run you’ll be happier. And who knows? With all that positive karma, perhaps someone will pay it forward to you! ☯