Thursday, March 24, 2011

Today, I'm talkin about....

Genuine Generosity

Do you think of yourself as kind and giving? What would your friends say about that? or your neighbors? or your family?

Generosity, is shown in many forms. Listening to a friend who talks about the same guy for months, who broke her heart; or helping an elderly person put their groceries in the car; or when you are in line at the grocery  store and the person in front of you has to put some of the food back because she just doesn't have enough money for everything she needs or wants, you tell her to get the groceries and you pay the difference, and let her children pick out that piece of candy that they kept asking their mom for, as soon as she got in line; stopping to give a ride to a young pregnant girl, standing in the rain or cold snow, waiting for the bus; or just plain old being a person that can be counted on. 

At times in my life, these things have been done for me and I've done these things for other people, and it felt good. But there are people who could care less about someone else, and all they do is make sure they have theirs.

I'd like to give money to the homeless shelter, or pass out bikes in a low income neighborhood, pay the rent for a family because no matter how hard they work, they just can't get ahead, or feed the hungry. I don't have money right now, to give us much as I'd like. But I do have a car with heat and air conditioning, the ability to help my neighbor bring her groceries in, and other things that don't cost anything but maybe a little time. 

There is this friend who is not wealthy, but because her husband got a nice bonus at work, paid a couple of bills for me; and another friend who has way more than the previous friend but doesn't even tip a waiter or waitress more than a dollar. I have friends who've put gas in my car because they knew I was broke. Not because they're rich, but because they felt they were blessed with what they have and they felt led by God to help. I have another friend that if you called and asked for help, they'd want to know when you're going to pay them back, even though they aren't struggling for anything.  One of the poorest in my family paid a bill for me from her tax returns. When another family member, who has a great job and who owes me money, ignored my call for help.

I bring this up to say that I have had some miraculous, wonderful things done for me and it has encouraged me to do for others. But I do want to point out to those who do have and don't give, that it's not hard to open your heart to help, whether it's with money or your time. It feels good!  It feels GREAT!

Thank you to my friends who've done things for me that should be announced in a newspaper, but they didn't do it so everyone could tell them, good job. And to my friends and family who could care less about what I or others go through, you might want to remember the Golden Rule: Do unto others, as you would have them do unto you.


  1. Maria, I love your posts and read them although I don't always comment.

    I couldn't agree with you more on this one!

    I have been truly blessed in my life. I have gotten some breaks, been given some opportunites, been in the right place at the right time. I have so very much to be thankful for, and I owe it all to God. I believe the right thing to do is to help people in whatever way I can. I support a number of charities, both financially and with my time. And it isn't nearly as much as I'd like to do. Recently a former acquantaince from work was released from prison after making a very bad decision 10 years go. Several co-workers and I have been doing what we can to help him. We don't approve of what he did but he's done his time and is trying to put his life back together and to keep from returning to prison. He has NOTHING and has little hope of finding any kind of job. We have taken up several collections of money for him and provided some items he can use. And we all expect NOTHING in return. It's just the right thing to do.

    How do you know that if you help someone you won't be "paid back"? All I ever ask of anyone who I help is to help someone else someday. I like the idea of "Pay it Forward". How do I know that someday help won't come back to me or someone close to me at a time when I really need it?

    There are infinite rewards in helping people in need. I volunteer with a struggling elementary school. The kids are just wonderful! They give me hugs and greet me when I come to the classroom. They're just such nice kids. They can't help it that their parents are poor.

    Do you remember those wrist bands years ago with the letters WWJD? What Would Jesus Do? That is a question I ask myself all the time. Jesus preached for us to love thy neighbor as thyself. He implored us to feed the hungry and help the poor. He talked about being hungry but nobody fed him, being naked and nobody clothed him. When the people asked him when this happened, he replied that when they had done this to the least of these, they had done it unto him (OK, I'm paraphrasing, but hopefully you know the story...). Jesus did not tell us to only help those who were helping themselves or to help only certain types of people. He also told us not to judge each other. He wanted us to help each other unconditionally. I keep non-parishable food in my car to hand out to homeless people begging at street corners. Do I ask them if they are really homeless or really need help? Nope, that is not for me to judge. They need help so I help them.

    I wear a wrist band from our church that says "The APP I Want To Be". APP stands for Awesome Powerful Person. It was from a campaign at our church about just this issue, that of getting out into the community and helping people in need. This is how I try to live my life. I help as best I can. And always wish I could do more. I've been trying to figure out a way to pursue one of my many charitable passions and still provide a decent living for me and my family.

    You know what, I am a liberal and proud of it. I don't care what other people think. That is their problem, not mine. WWJD? - Nancy

  2. Exactly, Nancy! I have people who barely know me and will help me out. When my daughter and I were homeless (living with someone else), Kareen had me meet her at Pappy's to have a drink with her and some of her friends. This one lady who overheard me and Kareen talking about my situation, came up to me and offered me a place to stay. She was so serious. She said that her husband had just lost his job too, and that if it weren't for her job and the help from her family, they wouldn't be able to make their mortgage payments. She said, when she heard me, the first thing that popped into her head was that she could help me, because of all the people who had helped her.
    If we all just remember that and learn to pay it forward, just think how wonderful our world would be.