Monday, June 25, 2018

A Generosity of Spirit

We enjoyed spending last week at our friends' vacation home in the Northern Neck of Virginia. My brother, sister and their families joined us. Andrew became a proficient driveway scooter-er, and blueberry picker, Margaret caught her first fish (and threw it back!), and we basked in the generosity of our friends opening their home to us yet again.





As you may remember, this was the first place we vacationed after Jack's death, when we couldn't bear doing our usual beach trip without him. It's also where I started writing Rare Bird on a cold winter's day, and experienced the radical generosity of a local tow truck driver.

If you don't remember that story, please read it here! It continues to inspire me, and convict me, years later.

I want to be generous, too.

But what if I don't have a beautiful vacation home to share, or a powder blue Volkswagen to lend to a complete stranger? How can I be generous to others, especially when it doesn't come naturally to me?

What about showing a generosity of spirit?

Our world seems so angry and ugly right now. Lots of yelling. Name calling. Divisive, dehumanizing language. Unfiltered thoughts coming out in ALL CAPS. It's almost too depressing to write about, so it quiets my voice sometimes, when I want to speak up, when I need to speak up. It's easy to feel helpless in a world that seems topsy turvy.

The phrase generosity of spirit made me think of the fruits of the spirit in the Bible. I think they are a very good measure to hold up against our leaders, our policies, and ourselves:

But the fruit of the spirit is: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.


9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Really? I can’t even escape politics here? Ugh!

Anonymous said...

Really? I can’t even escape politics here? Ugh!

Vicky Graham said...

Love that perspective! Perfectly summed up.

katrynka said...

I have always taught my daughter, and anyone who asks: generosity is not about how much you give, it is a practice. You give from what you have available. This will strengthen your generosity, so that it will be a habit...and then when you have more, you will give more, because generosity is already a part of your way of operating. Now I can afford to give $50.... Many years ago it was $1, or maybe $5, but I gave it. I did home physical therapy visits with kids. I could not give new toys most of the time, but I searched thrift shops for safe toys that could be thoroughly disinfected, and then kept them in my car you give to patients who had no toys. Now I can afford new shoes to fit over braces,a car seat or umbrella stroller. It does not feel like a hardship to give these things, because giving has been part of my paradigm for many years.

And you are correct as well, a smile, a kind word, a wave do not cost us anything, and can mean so much.

Margaret looks so lovely!

Suzanne said...

We can't pretend any of this is normal, or okay.
https://mobile.twitter.com/studentactivism/status/1007303298347659267?lang=en

Carol-Anne Powell said...

I love the idea of "generosity of spirit"!
I am going to remember to give this more often.
Thanks for the inspiration.

katrynka said...

I have always taught my daughter, and anyone who asks: generosity is not about how much you give, it is a practice. You give from what you have available. This will strengthen your generosity, so that it will be a habit...and then when you have more, you will give more, because generosity is already a part of your way of operating. Now I can afford to give $50.... Many years ago it was $1, or maybe $5, but I gave it. I did home physical therapy visits with kids. I could not give new toys most of the time, but I searched thrift shops for safe toys that could be thoroughly disinfected, and then kept them in my car you give to patients who had no toys. Now I can afford new shoes to fit over braces,a car seat or umbrella stroller. It does not feel like a hardship to give these things, because giving has been part of my paradigm for many years.

And you are correct as well, a smile, a kind word, a wave do not cost us anything, and can mean so much.

Margaret looks so lovely!

Debby@Just Breathe said...

Beautiful advice and it is definitely needed in our world today. God Bless You
Looks like you had a wonderful time!!

Annie said...

Ok so here are some things I’ve done in the past year to try to show some of that generosity of spirit which like you I felt was needed this year.

Monetary stuff:


1) You know how for their birthday peopke ask that donations be made to some cause. That’s great and I’m happy to do it. But for my birthday I wrote to 10 of my friends and a few other people that I admire in their work and asked them to tell me who they wanted me to make a donation to in their honor. This felt great and I learned about some new charities and things that were important to my friends.

2) We we’re getting rid of a 13 year old car. It wasn’t worth much. So I reached out to friends and asked “Do you know someone who could really really use a free but terribly old car. The person who I gave it to had been desperate for a car and I’m telling you the joy I got from giving it to him far outweighed the pittance we would have gotten for it.

Non -Monetary stuff

3) I make a habit of letting people go ahead of me in long lines at the grocery store and other places.

4) At work I offered to come in several weekends to help a conworker who I could see was struggling with a project. I normally get paid by the hour but I didn’t bill my time. Just took my own time to help. She was very greatful and that was so satisfying.

This really isn’t much but I figured it’s a start.