The Generosity Donation Library
Have you seen those mini-libraries on the side of the road? They often have books in them and the concept is that you can take a book if one looks good, but also you can leave a book if you have one to donate.
I sometimes think of generosity the same way. Especially when I give something of myself and someone responds "I owe you one" or "I'll pay you back soon." I figure I did something generous for that person and there's no expectation that they reciprocate to me personally. But, I do have the hope that at some moment, when that person has a chance to be generous and they can do so, they take that chance. It's like the mini-libraries: when you need generosity, accept it. When you have a chance to offer generosity and you can do so, do it.
The difference between the mini-book library and the giving of our generosity is relationship. When we place a book into a mini library, we put whatever we have to give hoping that someone will find it useful. When we offer generosity as opportunities arrive, we have the chance to more deeply understand what someone actually needs and make an offer of support based in that need. This is sometimes called the “Platinum Rule” as opposed to the “Golden Rule”: instead of “treat others as you’d like to be treated” it’s “treat others as they would like to be treated.”
This is a more complicated way to give! It requires that you know an institution or an individual well enough to have some idea of what would be useful. Sometimes it requires more conversation and thought.
But sometimes it is more simple too. If we live into the relationships around us, we will find opportunities to give are often right in front of us. And if we would like to give more, that can be an invitation to build new relationships.
So be on the lookout for the generosity donation libraries in your life as you journey on your path. When you find one that needs your donation, you know what to do. And you can always invest your spirit in traveling on some new paths. You may find both new connections and new opportunities to give and receive with others.
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