Wednesday, May 5, 2010

On Being Generous

Recently I have been participating in the American Cancer Society Campaign involving the Relay for Life event. As a part of a United Presbyterian Church of Cortland team I have agreed to seek contributors for cancer related research and management. This has given me the opportunity to ponder what makes a generous person and why some people seem to be much more generous than others.

I have always struggled with becoming a generous person. It is not my natural behavior to be generous and I have had to learn to become more giving. In that struggle, I have learned that by being more generous with my resources and in my relationships the rewards are extraordinary. The rewards come in many ways. First of all there is the outer satisfaction that you I have helped someone or some agency to achieve things that I couldn't do myself. The inner satisfaction is that I see myself as a better person who has conquered some of my internal selfishness. Perhaps the next step in becoming a more generous person is to give without any expectation of appreciation. That would be seem to be the ultimate in generosity.

When I started on the Relay for Life Campaign I set a fundraising goal of $300 and selectively culled my e-mail list for possible donors after I made my own contribution. I decided to e-mail only those persons that I felt I had a special friendship where they could ignore my request if they wished without any connection to our good will. And since cancer has affected so many of us in different ways, it would be an opportunity to honor a friend or family member. To my surprise, my friends and family have been exceedingly generous. In fact, it is apparent that I will enable contributions over double my goal. The generosity of all who have participated humbles me. These folks have touched me with the kindness of their response and have reinforced in me the desire to be more generous in my own living.

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