My story is not the most powerful, extraordinary or inspirational. But it's real, true and an excellent example of the simple power of paying it forward.
On my first travelling experience on my own around America I encountered the most amazing people. People who tested my very nature, opinions and at times patience. One of these people in a random act of immediate kindness wrote a prayer on a card for me moments after meeting me. This prayer really gave me a lot of perspective while I was away.
The next day I went on a bike ride around Santa Monica and discovered the Rose Cafe, a small haven with a large pink rose on the front. Something drew me into the cafe and while I waited I browsed the shop. On my small traveller's budget, jewellery was definitely never on my list. My only purchases over the month being more like 5 dollars on a replacement clothes item from a second hand thrift store. Nevertheless, immediately on seeing the courage key, knew it was a purchase I wanted, no, needed to make.
The sentiment of the giving keys to pay it forward was something that really hit home to me. As someone with a passion for trying to help people, the idea that a materialistic purchase could help those that the company employs and also help someone else and an endless chain in the future was an offer I was unwilling to reject. I wore the necklace like a religion every day for three months after my purchase. I thought I'd hold onto it for much longer as for me it was a reminder of the importance of knowing your own strength and power. Something that is so easy to forget in everyday life. But when a close friend announced she was off to travel the world (her first time to have left Europe properly) I knew I had found the person who needed 'my' key. I'd gotten everything I needed from it the first day I found it, but parting with it just proved it was only a symbol and not the embodiment of my or anyone's strength. So I hid the key in a sealed Harry Potter like envelope among my friend's travelling belongings. Within the envelope I wrote out the prayer I was given when I was away.
I know that this key will bring the same good fortune as it did to me to my friend and whoever she gives it to and so on. The key is a legacy, a symbol of the strength and courage that today so many people fail to recognise in themselves. I have no doubt anyone who has it will act with the courage that's within them. It will have nothing much to do with the key but a random act of kindness which gives people the courage to see themselves as what they already are. I'm not personally a religious person but the prayer reminded me of the power of believing in yourself and your own capabilities. I found that through people I encountered. Others find that through religion. Either way I think the sentiment can be appreciated and identified with.
Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.