For the last few days I have been considering what I was going to write about in this month’s generosity post.
Well, as I was sitting in our local coffee shop this morning just about 30 minutes ago, about to write this post – it came to me!
Not in the way I had hoped. No singing birds. No beautiful rainbow. No voice in the sky. No warm fuzzy realization.
No, this one came to me like a slap on the face. A dagger in the heart. A kick in the shins. It hurt and as I wrote this I am still shaken by the exchange.
Let me explain what happened and then tell you what it has to do with generosity.
I was sitting in the coffee shop in my home base of Anthem, Arizona. I was near the area where people pick up their coffee orders when an old friend, Carrie, came up to me and we had just begun reminiscing about the good things of life. Talking about the special people in our lives, our kids, mates, etc…
Out of the blue another longtime resident and local businessman, Tim, came over to pick up his coffee and said to me, “I hear your buddy went to jail. Maybe you will be next.”
My jaw dropped. My friend asked incredulously, “What did he just say?”
I could feel the blood drain from my face. My jaw dropped open, and I literally shook as his hate filled words sliced their way to my heart.
This is the same individual I wrote about in my book who unloaded a string of expletives at me the last time I saw him as I opened the door for him to enter into this same coffee shop.
I can’t figure out why he is mad at me. What transpired that would keep this person imprisoned with anger towards me? My only guess is that the school where his kids attended that met at the church I was assisting (which I also wrote about in my book), had not paid their rent and our leadership team had to give them notice of eviction. But that was years ago.
I couldn’t believe what my ears heard the first time he unleashed expletives at me in a public place and I can’t believe now what I just heard. Yes, I have a friend who went to jail. In fact, I had just given his inmate contact info this morning to another friend so that he could communicate with him and see if he could be of assistance.
His statement shook me to the core. Questions rushed through my mind:
What would possess a person to say such a thing?
What poison must be going on his heart that he would wish that upon another person?
What did I do to this person that he would feel that way toward me?
These questions and more rampaged my mind, and for a moment totally consumed me. And then my friend Carrie asked, “What did he just say? Who was that guy?” and then beautifully and graciously added, “Don’t hold on to it. Let it go. You are one of the good guys.”
And that my friend is the lesson on generosity that I want to share with you:
Be generous in your affirmation.
I was so glad she was there when this guy said what he did, because God knew I would need someone to speak affirmation into the wound that this man attempted to inflict on my heart.
As you go through your life today, seize the opportunities to say affirming words to those you come in contact with. Who knows? Your kind words may just be what a person needs to shake off a hate filled word that was spoken or injurious deed that they just experienced..
And, if you have the courage, there is a second generosity lesson that I am trying to practice as I write this post,
Here goes: Tim, I forgive you.
Is there someone who has intentionally or unintentionally hurt you with words or acts? Don’t hold on to it. Let it go. You are one of the good guys.
Continue to be.