I lost my shirt last night… well I didn’t actually lose it, I gave it away. Let me explain. I was in the local big box store last night. I walked by a mom, her daughter and her teen aged son and as I did the son pointed to me and said, “That is a beautiful shirt!”
He obviously had good taste, as it was one of my favorites. A silk, Tommy Bahama style shirt that I had just acquired two weeks before. In fact, it was the first time that I had worn it.
He repeated again, ‘Wow, that is a great shirt!” I was struck with the innocence and the honesty with which he made his declaration. Immediately, I was overcome with the desire to give him the shirt.
I turned toward him and asked, “Do you want it?” He looked at me, not knowing how to answer. He kind of stuttered as he admitted, “Y-Y- Y-Yeah, I would love to that shirt!”
I began unbuttoning my shirt and said, “It’s yours!”. Incredulously he said, “Really, are you serious?” I said, “Yes, I just ask that you give me your shirt (a basic white t-shirt) so that I can finish my shopping.”
He couldn’t believe it. Neither could his mom. Nor his sister. Nor could I!
As we stood and exchanged shirts the young man started repeatedly saying, “Thank you so much, thank you so much, thank you so much! It is so beautiful!” His mother chimed in, “Oh my God, thank you. That is so kind.” His sister stood there speechless just taking it in.
“You are very welcome.” I replied. I could not believe the feelings that were flooding me. It was surreal. Like a natural high. Warm fuzzies is what some would call it. Scientists have identified it as oxytocin: commonly known as the ‘love hormone’. It is the hormone that a mother secretes when nursing (and interestingly that a new couple feels during their first six months of courtship). When you give, your body actually secretes that same hormone!
I slipped his t-shirt on and walked away. As I did so I realized that our exchange had drawn a crowd. I made my way through the group that had collected, finished my shopping and went home. For the rest of the evening I marveled at what had just transpired and celebrated the exchange that I had just had the privilege of participating in.
Can I encourage you to practice generosity today? The benefit you experience will amaze you.
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