“Giving is a joy if we do it in the right spirit. It all depends on whether we think of it as ‘What can I spare? – or as ‘What can I share?” Esther York Burkholder
Sometimes you just can’t predict who is going to be generous.
For 30+ years Father Gregory Boyle has worked with gang members in Los Angeles at Homeboy Industries, the largest gang-intervention, rehab, and reentry program in the world. Those who work at the businesses that make up Homeboy Industries are called “homies” and they call Father Boyle “G.”
In his latest book,” Barking to the Choir,” G talked about giving a homie a ride to the train station one day after he had given all the money in his pockets away, and how he apologized to him because he didn’t have $5 to give him for his train fare home. “I’m good, G” the young man said, I’ve “got enough to take the train, with five bucks extra . . . so I can hand it to someone right now who needs it more than me.”
Sometimes, often, in fact, you just can’t predict who is generous enough to give their last five dollars away. G nurtures the homies’ spirits by acceptance, by caring about them, and by giving them hope.
How would you define a generous spirit, and how would you nurture one in a child, a spouse, yourself, or another adult.
My brother always planted a large garden so he would have plenty of produce to share with his friends and neighbors. He nurtured his own generous spirit as he watered those tomatoes and squash and watched them grow.
A generous spirit learns to give not by asking “What can I spare?” but rather, “What can I share?” – their time, their help, their skills, their possessions, their attention, or their financial assistance.
As Burkholder said, “Giving is a joy if we do it in the right spirit.” Ask that person you see in the mirror, “What can I share?” and discover the joy of giving yourself.
Blessings on your efforts to nurture your own generous spirit,