Generous

I’ve mentioned that a word or two arrived on my doorstep, asking me to come out and play. I said yes, and I think we’re going to have a grand time. The word leading the way is generous.

Most of us could be more free with our funds and our belongings, me too. But the generosity that’s got me leaning forward is a generosity of heart, a free spirit that allows me to live with curiosity, to see the best in another, to believe deep in my being that there is plenty for us all. Plenty of mercy. Plenty of joy. Plenty of success. Plenty of time. Plenty.

A generous life is a spacious life, a circle plenty wide for everyone, even for the odd ducks and the ones so insecure they can’t help but preen. I can shake my head; I can even provide a firm nudge when appropriate (a good nudge can be immensely generous), but there’s no need to get ruffled. Nothing’s at stake. Generosity brushes past all that nonsense. The generous one knows there’s a difference between being a foolish fool and a holy fool — but sometimes not so much difference as one might think. There’s room for all of us to grow up and become who we are.

When I’m generous, I’ll give away my words, flinging love and hope in all kinds of places. I’ll tell people what I see in them, what they’ve meant to me. I’ll be a blushing idiot. I’ll give away my words, but I won’t believe I must speak to everything. In a stingy world, we push forward our opinion, our words, our authority. Sometimes, amid all the blabbering, generosity sits over by the pond and feeds the birds and listens to the water and knows the sadness for the beauty that’s being missed.

When I’m generous, I believe in others and cheer on the good of others. I cheer on your good. I have nothing to protect because my heart knows that more for you doesn’t mean (at least not in any way that truly matters) less for me. As Brueggemann says, scarcity is the lie; abundance is the truth. You have your voice and your vocation and (I truly hope) your vast success. I raise my glass high, raucous cheers to you. I want to help you get where you need to be going; and as you arrive, I’ll arrive too.

When I’m generous, I don’t judge my success alongside yours. I don’t hold myself back, concerned that I may be left standing on the outside. I don’t parse or protect. When I’m generous, I walk the road ahead, thankful for whoever walks with me and for whatever strange and glorious sights we encounter.

image: zela

11 responses to Generous

  1. Just beautiful. And oh, how wonderful.

  2. Thank you, wishing you receive some rich generosity this week, over there in Durham.

  3. Winn, there is great challenge in these words for me…that good nudge stuff of which you wrote…thanks, thanks very much.

  4. "knows the sadness for the beauty that's being missed" — yes.

  5. you nudge me, and I'll nudge you.

  6. I believe I was thinking of you right around that line.

  7. This is so important. Awkward,nerdy,introverts can sometimes become people who cower in fear and don't extend themselves to others. They aren't as generous outside of their mind as they think they are. They have no excuse.As one of those people, I have no excuse. I have to be generous,even if it takes living at a volume and visibility that is not comfortable or normal to me.
    Proverbs 11:24,25 says this:
    24 The world of the generous gets larger and larger;
    the world of the stingy gets smaller and smaller.

    25 The one who blesses others is abundantly blessed;
    those who help others are helped.

    I love these lines:"A generous life is a spacious life, a circle plenty wide for everyone, even for the odd ducks and the ones so insecure they can't help but preen"…It God's generosity that gives us all room to "fit in". All of us. This concept echoes the words of Paul in Colossians 1:15-20:
    15-18We look at this Son and see the God who cannot be seen. We look at this Son and see God's original purpose in everything created. For everything, absolutely everything, above and below, visible and invisible, rank after rank after rank of angels—everything got started in him and finds its purpose in him. He was there before any of it came into existence and holds it all together right up to this moment. And when it comes to the church, he organizes and holds it together, like a head does a body.
    18-20He was supreme in the beginning and—leading the resurrection parade—he is supreme in the end. From beginning to end he's there, towering far above everything, everyone. So spacious is he, so roomy, that everything of God finds its proper place in him without crowding. Not only that, but all the broken and dislocated pieces of the universe—people and things, animals and atoms—get properly fixed and fit together in vibrant harmonies, all because of his death, his blood that poured down from the cross.

  8. Kerry Miller-Whalen January 26, 2012 at 11:30 pm

    I so enjoy your reflections and your writing, Winn – thank you.

  9. Kind words, Kerry. Thank you.

  10. A good word, a word we could all use more of.

  11. I think I'll use it today in fact.

words have a way of making friends. drop a few here.