Radical Generosity opens the door to a whole new world...
When it comes to generosity most of us immediately think of giving money to a worthy cause, giving service in some way to family or community or giving birthday and special occasion gifts. The emphasis is on giving, perhaps even giving up something for someone.
“Radical Generosity” opens the door to a whole new world where there is much more than merely giving away money or gifts, and feeling good about it. Giving our time or support to help others can be very important. Ryan tells of a friend who suffers from Lupus who had to quit her job and become dependent on her husband. She has lifted her spirits by volunteering at a soup kitchen and has found that the more she helps the better she feels both emotionally and physically.
The story of her father, a Boston doctor who kept his fees low and gave away a lot of free care, illustrates that by giving we can also be provided for in many ways. He said he felt rich and wasn’t concerned about money as the family had all they needed. The church was packed at his funeral. Ryan maintains that by giving our best self to the world we create a strong network of loving friends, family and neighbours who will be there for us no matter what happens.
We tend to think that giving is a one step process, once done we can then move on to other things. However the on-going effects of generosity can be likened to the ripples in a pond when a stone is thrown in. We are just not present to count the ripples.
Another part of generosity I had never considered is in receiving. How many times have we argued with friends or family when someone wants to pay for coffee or shout us a meal? Ryan relates the story of offering to buy a woman in a supermarket a bunch of flowers which she clearly could not afford was refused, it left her with a very empty feeling. It is important to accept a gift in the spirit in which it’s given, as that generosity comes from the heart.
There are so many aspects of generosity that I had not considered before reading this book, such as being generous to ourselves and allowing our actions to be appreciated. It has changed my thinking completely and it is very aptly entitled “Radical Generosity”.
By M.J. Ryan
Published by Rockpool Publishing
Article originally published in Nexus Magazine, Feb 2019 Edition
Barry Eaton – 31 January, 2019