Thursday, August 6, 2009

Generosity is a subversive act!

The picture of my passionfruit is an example of the generosity of the natural world. It has grown so much since I planted it just a few months ago. We now cannot see the ugly fence that dominates this picture above.

I have been giving to it in return -lots of care and attention. I hope that in the future I will have passionfruit in abundance -and be able to give them away too!

I have been thinking about what are gifts and what does it mean to give. I thought it might be timely to follow up the 'stingy' post of last week with a balance about generosity.

I know that some people come to the 'simply living movement" out of a sense of chaos in their personal finances -perhaps they are struggling with their mortgage, or they have maxed out their credit cards, or they never have anything put away for a rainy day. Simplicity helps them get control of their finances and find out how to live without over-reaching themselves all the time. There is nothing wrong with that at all. We were in a similar position once when my DH was made redundant. It was at the worst possible time when we had just bought our first house after 20 years of living in church homes and the mortgage was fierce.

For people who are struggling to make ends meet, there is a great need just to watch every penny and if they need to cut down on their charitable donations and such, that is what they need to do. If they need to sell their surplus things to make a few extra dollars, fine.

For my DH and myself however we are now living more simply because of other reasons and there is now room for more in the way of generosity.

Earlier this year DH gave away his beloved old Single Lens Reflex film camera. Now, this was a constant companion on our holidays in the early days. He loved it to bits. But it had been unused for years and when he found it again in the top of the walk in wardrobe, he decided to do something. He could have taken it to a dealer, but they would have said it was not worth much, and then he would have felt upset that his beloved camera had no value. Instead he "Freecycled" it -to someone who will value it as much as he does. Win all round!

We have had great satisfaction in signing up as regular supporters of St Judes' school in Tanzania where we help 8 girls go to boarding school (read about St Judes here)

There is a very moving post about getting rid of a sense of entitlement over at Notes from the Frugal Trenches which explains very eloquently why a generous spirit is so right for most of us. We live in a very rich nation in Australia, and in many other Western countries, and we have homes and food and medicine. So much of the world does not share these things.

Simple giving however does not have to only involve giving things or money. In my experience most people just need to have someone who will consistently give them some time to be listened to, and nearly everyone is in need of being thanked more. I try to make sure that I smile at the people on my street who don't look like the rest of us because that I hope, makes them feel a bit more at home and not so lost and strange.

In our world of grasping and greed we need more of us to just give away what we have to give. I hope you feel the same!


Anonymous said...

That is so true about giving time, thank you for the reminder!

Nicole said...

your passionfruit looks great, i just planted mine out this afternoon in front of the water tank, i hope that beautiful plump passionfruit will come my way as well.