“I want to thank you for your kindness and your generosity. I want to thank you.” – Natalie Merchant
I have always been struck by the stories of St. Francis of Assisi, his kindness toward animals and efforts to sow love and peace; by Mother Teresa, her giving spirit toward those who had been outcast by the rest of society; by Martin Luther King, Jr., his grace toward those who stood against the freedom of an entire people. I often think I wish I were more like them.
I took a walk on campus during my lunch break, as I try to do every time when the weather permits, just to connect with nature once more and escape the office for a bit so I can sort through my thoughts or just to relax for a while. I payed attention to the colors – the yellows, oranges, purples, blues and pinks on the flowers, the greenery. I noticed the birds singing, a bright green lizard darting in and out of a bush, and crows watching from limbs in great trees.
As it was time to leave, I noticed a new breeze coming from the south, and on it a familiar smell and feeling – rain. That wonderful smell of rain coming in on a dry land, gently yet powerfully taking over the air – and I began to think of God and the generosity of the Creator.
Why does the rain smell so sweet? God certainly did not have to make it that way, but in God’s great love and generosity, God did. And it is a beautiful thought.
Why is it that God gives so graciously and generously? That rain would smell so sweet and feel so refreshing, that food and drink would be so pleasant, that human touch would be so powerful and poignant and healing. That we could take in colors and sounds and feelings and be so moved.
Because, God Godself is love.
Love is generous, patient, kind – giving.
Love desires to give.
I think of my marriage, despite it’s lack of legality and the rights that follow.
I think of the love that Deanna and I share. How generous that love is – that when we see beautiful flowers, hear a beautiful song, see an amazing sunset, we desire to share it with each other. How when we wake up each morning, we embrace and hold one another. How little acts of service and generosity demonstrate our love and commitment through cooking meals, through holding hands, through picking flowers, and through doing the things we hate – like dishes, laundry, and cleaning out the cats’ litter box.
How our love together desires so much to give – by becoming parents, by giving our time and energy to our community, by sharing our resources with those in need. That our love desires to share this great joy we have found.
How much we want and try to help animals, people, and our environment.
Let us love extravagantly and graciously – and let us be generous.
Let us strive in this together.