Monday, January 24, 2011

Generosity: How the kangaroo got her pouch

In an old Aboriginal story the life of a blind wombat is saved by a mother kangaroo, but the kangaroo almost loses her joey (child) while helping him. In gratitude, wombat (who is God in disguise) offers kangaroo a way to keep her joey close by—a pouch on her belly to carry him in. The kangaroo accepts and asks that the same gift be given to the other marsupials. “The one with a generous heart wishes to include others when good fortune comes her way.”

One of the blessings of this work is that we get to see so many different ways that generosity becomes manifest in this world. We constantly see those who have very little helping those who have even less. The families that take in homeless friends and relatives into already overcrowded homes. QuinceaƱeras, weddings and funerals become events where entire communities come together and share what little they have. In fact, most studies show that the working poor are the most generous people in America giving away about 4.5 percent of their income on average. This compares to about 2.5 percent among the middle class, and 3 percent among high-income families.
However, the story tells that the generous heart wants to share its good fortune. That’s the other side of what we see: Those who have attained much and their hearts seek to share from what they have. We have several of those folks on the Board of Directors of Youth Mentoring Connection, and many others who help support our work.

One such generous heart belongs to my sister Linda. She has been by my side since day one, generously giving of her time and her influence, as well as her pocketbook so that thousands of youth can have hope for a better life. She has become equally generous with family and friends. Over the years I have seen Linda carefully cultivating her generosity so that it is more than simple giving.

Generosity is not just something you do. It is a sacred practice that can be honed into an art form. The ultimate manifestation of the art of giving is in its impact upon the receiver, not just from the standpoint of the immediate benefit or reduction of suffering, but in the way it affects the spirit and the esteem of the receiver. If the receiver feels more whole and stronger as a result of the gift, then the giver has practiced the art in a life-affirming way.

To the true artist
the world is her canvas
Her craft lives inside,
inspiration renewed with every breath
Generosity is art
She an artist
Like any good artist
constantly perfecting the gift
Working with nuance
Expanding creativity
Knowing that it is not the weight of the gift
but the artistry displayed
The transfer of love
The sharing of passion
Grace in giving
liberates the receiver
The gift is a word
a prayer
connection to the lonely
comfort to the afflicted
serenity to the fearful
Let tears cleanse the gift
Joy lifts the beneficiary
Generosity is the currency of love

Happy Birthday Linda

Linda LoRe, Tony LoRe, Debrah Constance

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