The first thing I do when I get up in the morning is feed the cats, then make tea, then sit and allow some of my higher brain functions to come online, usually whilst browsing Facebook. There then comes a point where abstract thought is possible and then I like to write.
The nice thing about the Facebook browse is that sometimes it gives me the idea for the day’s blog post. That was the case today – I came across the phrase “Today you, tomorrow me” in a set of stories about people being given help by total strangers with nothing being wanted or expected – or even accepted – in return.
The phrase apparently comes from the Spanish; an entry on an ‘urban dictionary’ website tells us:
From the Spanish “hoy por tí, mañana por yo”, it is used to “justify”acts of kindness toward strangers. For example:
“Thanks for helping me with my flat tire. Please accept this $50 as a token of my gratitude. ”
“No need. Today you, tomorrow me”
I guess it’s a more graceful response than my usual ‘Fuggedaboutit’!
I had to sit and think for a few minutes about it. Today you – today, you are the one needing help. Tomorrow me – tomorrow I may be the one needing help. It’s ‘Pay it forward’ – I guess that it’s easy for us to think of such a gesture of kindness as a form of enlightened self interest, or spiritual insurance of some sort. If that works for you, then go for it – help someone out because you never know when you yourself will need help.
As a Christian, I look at it slightly differently; for me, as a recipient of that help, I’m aware that I’ve done NOTHING to warrant it from the people giving it, except share the planet. That’s how we also look upon the love of God – we’ve done nothing to warrant it, but we get it. And on giving help out, a Christian isn’t being helpful to get in to God’s good-books, but because the grace of God is working through them to do good works.
However, you view it – it’s an excellent philosophy to live by. I’ve benefited from the kindness of strangers over the years, and I hope that I have managed to give something back to other strangers.
I’ve also experienced incredible kindness from people who I do know – albeit slightly – when other people who I might have expected to offer help to me in difficult times have not been able or willing to do so.
Apart from the actual ‘getting me out of the mire’ gratitude I’m also grateful to all those who’ve helped me in this way because they have added to my faith in human nature. They’ve also helped me to not be judgmental, and to remember the times when I was possibly not as helpful as I could have been.
Take a look at how you might be able to ‘pay something forward’ in your lives. You don’t have to have spare money, or even masses of time available. And it needn’t be a big thing. We have no idea how important the relatively trivial events of life may prove to be in the great scheme of things.
Today you, tomorrow me….