After gathering my recyclables I headed out the door for the depot. In a split second my feet hit the ground and my back slammed the slippery-when-wet stairs. Yes I cried out in pain. Probably cursed too. It took awhile to walk it off and I know I will be feeling the bruises for days, but something wonderful happened. In telling my friend she immediately offered to take me to the hospital to get checked out. Generous offer? Absolutely. But this was more than generous. She hates driving – she only does it when she has to. And she avoids the highway at all costs. The fact that she offered to drive me was beyond generous. She ignored her own fear. Her desire to help me was greater than her own need to protect herself from the discomfort of driving on the highway.
There’s a line in the Bible, “there will always be poor”, that I found odd, kind of dismissive and thoughtless. But I think I get it now. Giving our old clothes to the poor, offering left-overs to soup kitchens, or throwing a bit of loose change in donation can is not real generosity. In these situations we give without loss. It may even be an advantage for us to give these unwanted items away. “There will always be poor,” there will always be a place we can discard our unwanted items. But I think real generosity involves a sacrifice of sort. Like giving a homeless person the shoes off your feet. Travelling a great distance to visit a sick relative. Or, ignoring your fear of driving in order to help a friend.
I may be a little battered and bruised today – but I learned a valuable lesson in life that broadened my perspective; I was the recipient of the gift of real generosity.