We went for a wander around Barnes & Nobles Bookstore earlier this afternoon and I spent an extended time browsing the magazine/periodical section. While browsing, I located a publication a friend of mine was looking for – the Nov/Dec 2016 issue of Poet & Writers magazine. Upon returning home I decided to flip through this magazine before setting it aside to give to my friend.
On page 25 I discovered a feature called “The Time Is Now: Writing Prompts and Exercises“. This section had writing prompts for Poetry, Fiction and Nonfiction.
The “Nonfiction” prompt was “A Great Act of Generosity” and it encouraged the reader to “write a personal essay about a time when you have been the giver or receiver of a great act of generosity.” This was proceeded be a discussion on how the holiday season is often associated with generosity and giving.
I am not going to share a whole personal essay on an act of generosity but I do want to share how today I was overwhelmed with a feeling, let’s say “from the Universe”, that I needed to be generous:
After leaving our extended browsing through Barnes & Nobles bookstore, Terry the Quilting Husband suggested that we have lunch at our local Whole Foods Market as a treat. Whole Foods was packed with Sunday shoppers and Sunday diners in the food court section. We grabbed a couple slices of pizza and searched for an open place to sit. The only available seating was a shared table with a homeless-looking man sitting at one end.
I started to hesitate and find another place to sit, but I thought “no, we need to sit here”. We sat at one end and the homeless-looking gentleman, who appeared to have all his worldly possession stuffed into an very old and falling apart backpack, sat at the other end of the table.
But he did not appear to be just sitting, he appeared to be cowering at the other end and was eating from a small can of beans. He was up against a window and he appeared to be trying to making himself appear to be as small as possible and a feeling a great sadness was emanating from him. Around us tables of other shoppers were chatting and laughing as they enjoyed their Whole Foods culinary delights.
I tried to ignore the homeless-looking gentleman at first, I wanted to just eat my pizza and leave as quickly as possible. His sadness was palpable and ruining in my mind my good feelings from my recent fun browsing at the bookstore. Then I was overcome with a feeling that I needed to be generous and give this man some money. It was a very strong feeling as if I could not even leave Whole Foods without showing this man some generosity. (Usually we do not give money directly to homeless individuals but we donate to locate homeless shelters so that we know that the money is used for food and lodging and not “recreational uses”.)
So upon finishing my pizza, I stood up, gave the gentleman sitting in the corner $10 and wished him “Happy Holidays” and that I hoped he could get something else to eat beside the beans. He looked at me in complete surprise, and then the most incredible smile came upon his face. It was one of those smiles that emanates from someone’s soul – what I call a “deep smile”. It was as if I had given him $1000.
As we left the store and went to our car, we had to pass by the window in which he was sitting and I turned to see him profusely waving to me through the window, still with that huge and “deep smile” on his face.
To me it was only $10, but I suspect to him it was a lot more.
Thank you for reading my about my experience with generosity today.
I now invite you to share a brief story if you like of an experience where you were a giver or receiver of an act of generosity.
You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you. ― John Bunyan
We finished both quilt tops and they are now with the long-arm quilter! Next time I post on them, it will be to show you the finished quilts. Yay! (The feeling of actually finishing something is so wonderful, ha!)