I’m reading about it in Dostovesky’s first novel, Poor Folk. Two lovers are writing letters across the ghetto alleyway. He has forsaken the everyday luxury of tea to be able to send her geraniums.
Generosity is something I admire more than almost any other quality, and I am surrounded by friends and family who have it in droves.
I watched my mama give away a bag of groceries she just bought, simply because the other person needed it too.
I was fed a delicious dinner by a friend who doesn’t have a job.
Someone let me go before them in the checkout line because I am only buying one item.
I watched friends give an orphaned child a home.
(Witnessing the moment of a lifetime, Ethiopia, 2009)
I saw it at the dump in Phnom Penh when two boys – scrounging in fresh garbage for plastic bags or aluminum to sell for a fraction of a penny - shared their stickers.
(A boy I fell in love with, Cambodia 2007)
Nature displayed it when a mother elephant moved to the back of the family line to protect her baby.
(Elephant crossing, Kenya 2010)
I heard Gary Haugen speak at an International Justice Mission dinner I attended last week on the topic of generosity. He phrased something in a way I’ve never heard before. He said we all rely on generosity to survive. From the moment we are born, we are dependant on at least one other human being’s kindness (a mother) for survival and care. He said, "generosity is an invitation to greatness - greatness of heart and the larger reality."
I admire the open-handed life, the one that receives good and gives good without reserve. They’re like these endless sources of geraniums.
A generous person is not afraid of lack, because they are connected to an endless supply.
A generous person has courage and believes the way they love is stronger than pain and loss.
I experience generosity every day, and I’m learning it’s more than about giving money. It’s giving a moment to let my heart be tugged, to stop and say, “Wow. You, and your hurts and needs, matter to ME. Let me care.”