Thursday, March 15, 2012

Pay It Forward....Best Friend Style

Alina Burton tells the story of her best friend's life changing generosity.

“You got a friend in me” (Toy Story) On the other hand, as I sing it today “You got some kindness in you.☺ My life has been a roller coaster, especially when it came to relationships. Being the oldest child of 5 kids with two navy parents, we moved a lot so I got use to saying hello to new friends but keeping them at a far distance because in 2-3 years I would be moving again. However, life changed when I went to college and met my husband at freshman orientation and my best friend Bethany. Saying the word “best friend” was weird to say or even think 6 years ago because I never thought I would actually have a person in my life that I could call my best friend besides my husband. As Joe and I grew stronger as a couple, we became very good friends with Bethany and her husband Franklin. We eventually were hitched with our family and closes friends in May 2008. However, many of our close friends left our side very fast except for Bethany and Franklin.

Soon after we got married, Joe and I started to struggle financially, our full time jobs dropped down to part-time positions. We decided our best move was to move near Joe’s family in Maryland and teach at one of the local private schools. We loved teaching at the school but our paychecks were not paying our bills. This private school kept its tuition down very low so the school was affordable for all socially economic families. But, we no longer could afford living in Maryland unless one of us got another job that paid more. During this hard time of struggle, our friends Bethany and Franklin would help us as much as possible. Whenever we would take a weekend trip to NoVa to see them they would pay for our gas as a gift or give us gift cards so Joe and I could go on a date. One time Bethany and Franklin came to visit us and they saw that our heater broke right at the beginning of the winter and they went out and bought us a heater that we were able to roll around the house. They kept providing us with kind gifts, because someone in their past showed them kindness when they needed help.

During one visit, Joe and I told Bethany and Franklin that we were climbing into debt and we both were trying to find another job. I was trying to get into the public school system but that following year only 17 teachers were hired in the entire district. Joe was starting graduate school in the fall and trying to find a job in his field of study. As good friends, they said that they would pray for us and look for jobs and cheap homes around their city. We prayed and prayed and nothing seemed to happen to our timeline. Then one afternoon while talking to Bethany about us coming to take a weekend visit, she said that she and Franklin had something to discuss with us when we came. Joe and I had no idea, but we knew it had to be good, because Bethany’s tone was happy but also serious. Because of the seriousness in her voice, Joe and I decided to cancel our weekend plans and head to NoVa to see them.

When we got there, we were anxious about this important discussion. They sat us down and said, “So, you know we are finishing the basement like a guest house? We are offering it to you two for 2 years without rent.” Our mouths dropped. We really did not know what to say, I do not remember what we said at the moment but after praying and thinking about moving into their basement we decided it would be dumb if we did not take them up on their offer. We have always loved the acts of kindness Bethany and Franklin have shown us but letting us move in and not pay them, rent was huge. They have said countless times to us that someone in their life has helped them in the past so they needed to pass the gift of kindness to someone else, which was us ☺

In three months, Joe and I will be credit card debt free and only have our student loans. We will finally be able to save for a house and plan our future family. We could not be in this great position without God and our friends that showed us a great gift of kindness. Daily Joe and I try to pass kindness but we hope in the future we will be able to make someone’s mouth drop when we are able to show him or her a huge act of kindness.

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