A Generous Spirit

I am consistently amazed at the kindness people to bestow on each other during controversial times. While there are questionable days, it’s refreshing to see generosity at work. I’ll give you a prime example. The other day I was in the grocery store. There was an older woman there with what I assume was her granddaughter. The bill rang up to $127 and some change. The woman asked the clerk to put some things away because she couldn’t afford all the groceries. There was another woman who was two customers behind her. I was fifth in line. This woman told the cashier not to put anything away. She paid for her groceries. The older woman tried to keep her from doing this gesture but she did not win the argument. Instead, the woman gently smiled and told her to have a wonderful holiday. I don’t know the reasoning behind her actions. I only know that she did it with a kindness that I don’t get to witness regularly.

Some would say that it’s the holiday season that puts a spring in our step. People may be infected with the kindness that this season brings to us. The ideology of sugar plums dancing in our heads makes me think of how many people do good things without being told to do them. We all tend to be a little nicer to each other during this time of year. But what about the rest of the year? Believe it or not, there are a lot of paying it forwards that happen year-round. We don’t always acknowledge those though.

I have a good friend who found himself without a job for over a year. The church he attended helped him pay his mortgage for a few months. He was overwhelmed with gratitude. His disability made it more difficult for other companies to give him a chance. Finding work when you are disabled can be tedious. It’s difficult for anyone to find a job but discrimination is a problem for many people. In his case, Murphy’s Law attacked him with a vengeance. He was falsely accused of a crime he didn’t commit, fired from his job without an investigation, spent a long time looking for work, and has now been at the same job for over 5 years. There are many blessings by different folks that he has been the recipient of. When he had little to no food, others pitched in and helped. He has been among the lucky ones.

I’ve been the recipient of good gestures too. People have paid for my drink or food without my knowledge. I’ve had little things done that I would have had to pay money for and yet, people have surprised me when I least expected it. I remember one year it snowed at my house. I was dreading getting the snow shovel and shoveling away all the snow but a neighbor came and scraped all the drives on my street. Talk about being shocked. He didn’t want payment. He had the equipment to make light of the work and he used the equipment to help out his neighbors. It was a generous moment in time.

There are people that I have read about where good deeds and gestures have been bestowed upon them as well. Random acts of kindness have an effect that words often fail to describe. We call them generous and uplifting but in many ways, they are acts that help remind us that the world has a lot of good left in it. I’m always amazed when I go on social media how many groups rant about loving each other and are the first to bash those that disagree with them. Instead of empowering and uplifting others, it becomes a bone of contention. Why? I tend to think that human nature suffers when everything becomes a one-sided way of thinking. When we show compassion and empathy to others, we are showing unconditional love and acceptance. We don’t always agree with each other. That’s healthy. Showing others that we care by offering little gestures when we least expect it is a loving way to exhibit acceptance. Being true to ourselves doesn’t mean that we have to sacrifice our beliefs. Kindness and compassion go a long way to healing the hurt that has been inflicted in the world.

I talk a lot in these blogs about focusing on the positive energy around us. I can’t begin to tell you how monumental that mentality is in fighting the negativity around us. If you see someone in need, you don’t have to let it be known that you are helping. You might do something like leave an inspirational quote on their desk, or a little flower, or anything that might lift their spirits. People have different roles in life. Little gestures prove the generous spirit that we all have dwelling in our souls. Hurting one another is easy. Healing those we hurt is more difficult. But the greatest power comes in learning how to heal. When we start healing those who hurt the most, our souls fill with love. Use the spirit of generosity, kindness, love, and selflessness to touch others that you don’t know. Actions have consequences as do words. Use them wisely. You never know what battle someone is fighting. You don’t need to add to their stress. Instead, use your spirit to make a more positive and productive world. Something tells me you are going to make a difference you never expected.

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