In the middle of my Little Rock fun, I learned that someone I’ve never met before (but is definitely on my must-meet list) had done something amazingly generous and beautiful for me. I’ll keep the who and what private, but my immediate instinct was to send an email thanking her profusely but refusing her magnificent gift. It truly was enough knowing someone even wanted to do something so nice for me.
Well, my gifting angel wrote back and her words made me see things in a different light. “I hope you don’t really mean you can’t accept it,” she wrote. “I’ve been SO EXCITED since I did it.”
That stuck with me, and I thought about it on the drive home. In the past, I also enjoyed giving similar gifts. I hadn’t really considered how others feel when they do the same thing. Giving not only makes the recipient(s) happy or helps them out in some way, it also feels so very good to be the giver. Knowing I’ve brought someone else happiness is like a gift to myself. I realized that in refusing my gift angel’s kindness, I was, in effect, taking a gift away from her. And so I said YES! and that felt surprisingly good, too.
I’ve received many meaningful gifts in my life, but the nature and purpose of this gift and the generosity of the giver touched me deeply. Since then, I’ve been pondering both my good fortune and how I might “pay it forward”, so to speak. I can’t do anything so grand as was done for me, but I can surely do lots and lots of small things! Tippy Toe Generosity, if you will.
Just in case you’re feeling inspired to join me (and I do hope you will), here are just a few low cost-high value ideas I jotted down today:
– Donating blood or platelets. It costs nothing and could make a life-changing difference in someone’s life.
– Giving time, talent, and energy to a local organization or charity.
– Passing out compliments at every opportunity.
– Being extraordinarily kind in the face of someone else’s unpleasantness. (That’s also just plain fun.)
– Listening to an elderly person.
– Wiping down the gym mat when finished with it.
Okay, I just had to throw that last one in. (I have my very own mat, so it really doesn’t matter to me.)
You get the idea. Generosity is good in any form–large and small. I, for one, will be looking for more ways to practice it!
What’s the best gift you’ve ever given? Or received?