I remember the first time I saw a $2 bill. I was about 5 or 6 years old, and I thought someone was playing a joke on me.
The $2 bill was first considered legal tender in 1862, and although the design has changed and printing has stopped and started at various times, it is still a denomination of U.S. currency. Translation? You can still spend it.
I’ve mentioned before that I have the best writing gig in the world because of the amazing letters I get in the mail. I got one the other day that tops the list and was just “two” sweet:
“Nicole, thanks for sharing your gifts and talents so willingly with others. You are a God-based inspiration to many. Trusting God with all the real scenarios in life and allowing kindness to shine, I’m certain makes God smile and encourages others.
“Enclosed are a week’s worth of $2 bills. Give them to whomever God lays on your heart and tell them they are ‘too’ special!
‘This is my small ‘pay it forward’ plan in thankfulness for the grace bestowed on me by such a loving Savior and for giving me a godly wife for 43-plus years and running. I’m married to my best friend.
“The $2 isn’t a monetary windfall, but the words are what Jesus would say to each of us, no matter our situation.”
Sure enough, tucked inside that anonymous envelope were seven crisp $2 bills. I had been reading my mail on the living room couch, and I just sort of gasped. I read the letter to my husband and kids and then pulled out the bills. Each child wanted to take a turn looking at them, feeling them, holding them. It was a really neat moment.
Now I have the unique opportunity to create seven more moments. There are so many people who cross my path each day and fill it with light through their kindness that I’m actually having a problem giving the bills away! I haven’t been able to decide if I should give them to people who have helped with our transition to Ohio or if I should send them back to people who have touched my heart in North Dakota.
It’s hard to know who the perfect recipients should be when I truly feel surrounded by kindness.
And that’s the neatest thing about this whole situation: The man who sent me those $2 bills gave me the greatest gift of all. By having to choose seven people who are “too special,” he has allowed me to see the multitude of people who show me love, compassion and kindness every single day.
I’m certain the people to whom I end up giving the bills will think it was a sweet gesture, but they will never know that by being the conduit, I actually became the biggest recipient. I was forced to slow down and contemplate just how many people go out of their way to make my life better.
If you can manage it, I hope you’ll play along with me. Get seven crisp $1 bills (or $2 bills!) and carry them around until your heart tells you to give them away, one at a time. I suspect it will open your eyes to the number of people who shine with goodness in your life.
Please continue to share your stories of kindness with me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or send a letter to Kindness is Contagious c/o Nicole J. Phillips, The Forum, 101 5th St. N., Box 2020, Fargo, ND, 58107.