Friday, September 21, 2012
Thoughts on Generosity
I've been thinking about what people I know consider being generous, and I've realized that so many times the word "generous" is automatically associated with money. So often we think of those who make large charitable donations are the generous people in our world. People who remember tragedies with a prayer and a check in the mail to support those who have suffered are considered the generous members of our society. I think the problem with this is that while money helps, and money can do a lot of things, this attitude negates the good work done by people every single day who aren't capable of spending a dime. Generosity can be found in the teacher who stays two hours after school to tutor their students so that they don't fail classes. It's in the little league coach who spends hours teaching a kid how to throw the perfect curve ball. It's in the volunteers all over this country who work in soup kitchens, or cuddle kittens at the Humane Society, or visiting the elderly. What I've learned is that it is so much more difficult to give your time than it is to give your money. Time means giving of yourself, taking time out of your schedule and focusing on something other than yourself. It is difficult, often, to find time, and to use it helping someone other than yourself. Money is easy, you can make more of it. You can't make more time.
I enjoy that I have been able to lead a generous life. I have been fortunate enough to have time to give, and the ability to give it to things that I've been passionate about and cared about. I've had a home that I've been able to open to those who need a comforting and safe place to be. I've had the ability to help people who needed it, and I've been able to make life a little bit easier for a handful of people. None of it cost me anything, at least not really, but I can't help that it's been a lot of small kindnesses that will some day add up to a lot for someone, and hopefully they can look back and feel like someone helped make a difference. But I don't often talk about it, and I don't expect any sort of credit or praise. I just hope that at some point someone will feel better about life, and that I helped make them feel that way. And I hope that some day, when I am old and gray, I won't look back and wish I could have done more.
These are just things that have been bouncing around in my head lately.