When my spirit lacks vitality, when it starts to feel emaciated from the depleting affect that every-day life can have, I unearth a bounty from the garden that flourishes within me. I bring forth one precious portion at a time from the underlying soil of my soul, and am once again nourished.
The positive energy that feeds me is the compensation I have received for my generous acts towards others. Investing in others has become a long-term investment in the sustainability of my spirit.
The rejuvenation I experience each time I give, drives me to search out more ways to be generous. Like a garden – each act of generosity plants a seed. Those seeds flourish into a bounty.
I am often astonished by the electric dividend that courses through the fibers of my heart when I set myself to the task of preparing a meal for someone in my community. I prep the vegetables, rinsing them clean under warm water as my hands work over their skins. I run my peeler over them, turn them slowly and methodically in my hands. As I work, I get lost in thoughts of the person to which I will deliver the finished product. Empathy and understanding enrich the process.
On the stove, in its bath, the tender chicken releases flavor into the broth. The rolling steam emits the delectable smell of herbs and oils into the air. I chop, dice, sliver, and cast the colorful pieces in the pot.
I move onto the last task of making homemade egg noodles. I roll the soft dough with my late-mother’s rolling pin over my flour-dusted kitchen counter. I notice that my hands strike the exact same motions as my mother’s. The resemblance brings a comforting moment to my heart as I remember her. The end result - thinly cut ribbons - are draped into the vibrant and soothing chicken stock.
The receipt of lovingly crafted chicken noodle soup and fresh baked rolls can bring light to a diminished heart. I deliver the meal with hugs, shared tears, and a promise to visit again soon. It is a small gesture chock full of caring, thought, and prayers for healing.
The amount of time and money I invest in such acts of kindness are minuscule compared to the growth of my own spirit with the offering.
As I have experienced the bounty of a giving spirit, I have also learned an unexpected lesson. I discovered how important it is to receive the generosity of others. If I deny others’ offers of generosity, I am denying them the potential to sustain their spirit.
I hadn’t thought of it in this way before.
Previously, I would assume that my friend Jackson’s offer to pick up the kids from daycare, when I had a pressing deadline at work, would equal an imposition on her time. An offer from Ashley to help me plant my carrots on a warm spring afternoon (because I seem to have no luck in that endeavor) a commitment of one of her only free Saturday afternoons that I didn’t want to steal.
No matter the offer, I would kindly decline. I thought this was a way to be selfless and humble, a way to show my independence, and an avenue for demonstrating the value of their time and effort.
In time I have found the opposite to be true. When I offer to help someone, and they decline the invitation, I find it disheartening – not accommodating. All I want to do is help ease a friend’s burden or hold a piece of her broken heart in an embrace. The denial of this offering leaves me aching.
Help-less-ness = the inability to bestow your heart’s generosity upon someone deserving. Have you thought of this word in this way before?
Now, I am committed to opening my eyes so that I might recognize circumstances that allow me to give to others, and to opening my heart to receive favor from those that care for me.
Giving and receiving generously yields a bounty that can sustain us all.
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