If you were going to tell stories about people who live generously, who would they be about? What would they be about? When have you been the benefactor of someone’s generous living? We all benefit from the financial generosity of others when we are sitting in our beautiful church building, when we are getting the care we need in the hospital, or enjoying a concert at Bass Hall.
And we all know the good feelings that come from sharing our material wealth. My grandmother said, “If that money is burning a hole in your pocket, you better give it away.” Being generous with our money is a very freeing way to live (and keeps your pants from catching on fire).
I also think of generous living as making space for people to have their emotions, their ideas, and their strong opinions without me having to immediately push back or insist on mine — the key word being insist. In this generous space — which has great potential for being contagious, people can wait for each other to process, wait for each other to consider another point of view, and potentially learn something together.
Unfortunately, too often when we are in discussions our own egos get in the way so much that we can’t make space for another point of view or to just live in the question for a while. But if we cultivate a generous way of being with each other, we will most likely get the great benefit of seeing that we are not always right, which leads to more personal peace than we might have guessed. But there are other benefits too.
If you give me that kind of space, I might be more able to see it when I’m wrong about something. Because here is the deal. Even at this age in my life, I’m still growing, going through transitions, facing things that are confusing, and generally still figuring a lot of things out. I need some space and grace to move forward. I’m pretty sure we are all in that place. So as we think about our healthy plate item, “serve,” maybe some of the best things we can serve each other are space and grace.
space to embrace the questions and work through emotions
grace to fail and get up again without fear of shame
If we serve those good things up with some rock-and-roll music and some stories from Germany, we should have a pretty good time at nine:thirty-nine and eleven:eleven celebration this week. The band will play, Kirk and Berry will read the scriptures, I will give the meditation, and Tom will share some stories from Germany! See you there!