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

Dad with a G

I have a dad. Most likely, you do too. I have a good dad. I hope you can say the same.

When we have a good dad, we easily utter this familiar line to our prayer: Our Father who is in heaven… When your dad has been everything but good, however, that line can stop you cold.

I have two boys, and I hope to be a dad who helps, not hinders, their prayers. Most days, I don’t have a foggy clue what that means. When it comes to parenting, it’s mostly holding hands with your mate and praying for mercy. But one thing that comes with the “good dad” kit is this: generosity.

Generosity doesn’t mean giving your kids whatever they want. That’s a sure-fire way to raise a hellion who comes running into the room screaming bloody murder and demanding that all present dote on them like they were a little emperor (sorry, flashback). Rather, generosity means that we are open-hearted, that we are quick with mercy, that we see the best in our kids even when it’s oh-so hard to see (and it’s often oh-so hard to see).

Generosity also means we’re easy on ourselves. We’re going to screw-up. We’re going to loose our cool. We’re going to say that ridiculous thing all parents say – but is undeniably lame. But we also know that we’re surrounded in generous love, so we’re going to be okay. And the kids are going to be okay too. And we tell them so, we love them so.