In the paper: Column #7 – Franklin’s Fire

click here to read about Franklin’s fire

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Humbled by generosity

 

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  I have people in my life who astound and humble me with their generosity. People who have given unexpected, greatly appreciated gifts- not because it was a gift giving occasion, but simply because they thought they had something I would like or could use. People who have helped me financially when a need was noticed. Some examples of generosity towards me: a girlfriend buying me Jujubes from the candy counter at the movie theater when we were children, a friend sharing paper, stamps and ink to encourage a new hobby for me and Katie, practical items such as soap, Crystal Light, and sugar-free canned fruit, a couple thinking I could use a Kitchen-Aid mixer, a woman I barely knew offering me a lovely linen tunic, books, purses, and jewelry showing up in my mailbox, fellow gardeners splitting and sharing plants, cold hard cash to use as I see fit, offers of frequent flyer miles to a girl’s beach vacation, neighbors we barely knew offered the use of their car after ours was lost in a fire, gift cards to the grocery store, restaurants and coffee houses, cheery plants and flowers….this list could continue for pages, this is just to let you know some of the random things people have bestowed upon me.
  That list did not include the incredible amount of time others have given of themselves for my benefit. Women have converged upon my house to clean, cook, iron, toss me in the shower, and dress me for my son’s rehearsal dinner and graduation parties. A woman with five children of her own takes Katie bowling once a week. There are people who endure endless phone calls and emails that have prevented me from needing years of psychotherapy. People who encourage life: cheerleaders of my swimming passion, readers of my ramblings, people who want to laugh, dance, sing, play, and talk.
  These kind people who are my family and friends humble me with their generosity. I agree with what Felix Frankfurter stated, “Gratitude is one of the least articulate of the emotions, especially when it is deep.”  Deep gratitude leaves me choked up, unable to express how truly appreciative I am. I very much appreciate the time people devote to me, I adore the gifts bestowed upon me, I value and frugally utilize their financial support, but what moves me greater than what these folks do for me is the thought that they do.
Oh, to have a heart able to see need and a soul willing to share.
How does that happen? I see a benevolent God blessing people with a spirit of generosity, hearts filled with tenderness,
and souls guided by love.
  I see those people placed in my life…..and I see a glimpse of the bigger picture. Only enough that my limited understanding can comprehend, but it explains why deep gratitude is so inarticulate. It is bigger than me. It is more precious than words can express, but words are what I have to give, so I will continue to gratefully say, “thank you”……..always, Anne

Recognize the preciousness, weep.

“In the entire history of the universe, let alone in your own history, there has never been another day just like today, and there will never be another just like it again. Today is the point to which all your yesterdays have been leading since the hour of your birth. It is the point from which all your tomorrows will proceed until the hour of your death. If you were aware of how precious today is, you could hardly live through it. Unless you are aware of how precious it is, you can hardly be said to be living at all.” ~Frederick Buechner
 I am so often aware of how precious our moments in life are. Buechner is right, I can hardly live through the awareness of the preciousness, it leaves me frequently in a  weeping state. I have referenced this statement of his before and probably will again because it so moves me. Today my weeping began when I was the recipient of extreme compassion by a woman who could have easily remained disconnected, aloof or unaffected by my story. She had nothing to gain by encouraging my discourse and it was not part of her job description to show me such kindness. It was part of her generous spirit to involve herself and share of herself. Because of her willingness to get involved my heart was touched. She asked probing questions and presented me with various options for dealing with the situation, all while completing the duties she needed to accomplish. Instead of sitting bare-assed on a doctor’s exam table I felt like I was sharing coffee with a friend at a painted kitchen table with zinnias and sunflowers outside of the window, this is how comforting she was. If I was capable of bestowing some sort of Nurse Extraordinaire award, she would be the recipient.
I had so many people showering me with kindnesses this day that my tears were more of a shower than the relenting summer rain.
~A kindred spirit with whom I share the bond of each of us having daughters who need a little extra from us as mothers, and the bond of loving life and choosing to extract every ounce of pleasure and happiness it offers.
 ~My beloved sister whose thoughtfulness and generosity escape from her with every breath she exhales.
a friend whom I have known since Kindergarten making a comment on Facebook that felt more like a hug than a social media entry.
~ An old friend whose emails bring me laughter and comfort always.
~A fellow swimmer inquiring after my daughter’s well being.
~A friend whose door is always open with love and peace waiting just inside the door.
~A non-person entry to this list, a fiery sunset sinking into the river after the rain subsided.
We all want to be complete, strong and courageous, so anytime I realize that I am actually broken, vulnerable and needy I am grateful to those who build me up, hold me up and shore me up with their extreme acts and words of kindness, thoughtfulness and compassion, whether they are a person who does that on a daily (some days hourly) basis or if they are a person who briefly touches my life once or twice a year.
All of you make my days so very precious that I can’t help but be aware. I am living.Image