Reverb11: Acts of Generosity

Tell us about a time this year that you were moved by the generosity of another.

Would it be selfish or lack creativity to answer this prompt by mentioning my own friends and myself? If so, I may have to live with the label, because without a doubt, it is generous actions of about a dozen of my friends in particular that fits the bill best for this prompt this year.

They were generous with their time and support when about eight weeks ago I mentioned in a rather public manner, (Facebook updates) that I was in the midst of a difficult, trying time. That I in no way expected anyone to do anything about my situation, but that I wanted people to at least be aware of it, so if they were inclined, they could send me the proverbial “good vibes”.

And send them they did. Not just mentally, either. I got emails, Facebook messages, comments on the status, texts and even a few tweets from a select group of people who wanted right away only to help me in some manner. I got invitations to visit, well wishes, reminders of my importance, (to them and to the world at large), suggestions for how to proceed and professions of love. It was all quite uplifting to me.

This is not to say that those who didn’t respond directly are lesser people, or even that they care about me less. Yet given that a simple word or two, or even no response at all because of the potential awkwardness would have been the easier thing to do, the fact that that select few took the time, energy, and thought into offering me their support and love was, in my mind, quite generous. Especially when in some cases I had not known the concerned party for an extended period of time. I found it moving that someone would put forth the effort, even without knowing me at such an intimate level as some of my other friends do.

Yes, I was the beneficiary in this case. One may wonder if I would have been so moved had the affection been directed at someone else. The answer is, yes. If I could in some way be made aware that people were putting forth a sincere effort and taking time out of their days to remind someone other than me that they were going to be all right, and that loved ones were never more than a phone call or text away, I like to believe I would have still been moved. A person’s time and emotional energy are commodities that I feel are not easily parted with, and that is what makes the sharing of same so generous.

Sure we can all click a “Like” on Facebook without much thought, or shoot off a “Sorry to hear that” message, without much investment. I got a few of those as well. However, to think about a response, tailor it to the recipient’s personality and situation, without pandering or condescending? That is something that can’t just be shot off in a moment. It requires a willful, gracious bestowing of sentiment upon the needy soul. That is a choice that is made. A gift that is given. A generous gift at that, and I would be moved by anyone I witnessed taking such time to add depth to their responses.

So I thank my friends for their generosity, the most moving example of such I have witnessed this year.

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3 Comments

  1. I love this explanation: “It requires a willful, gracious bestowing of sentiment upon the needy soul”
    That really is such a gift. I'm glad that you were able to have that support when you needed it and that it was sincerely given and accepted.

  2. I think social media is great for this. I've received tons of support through the years via the blog, Twitter and most definitely Facebook. Even if I'm just having a shitty day – someone is there to say it's going to be OK.

  3. Beautiful and touching. You've lit upon exactly what makes social media magical–the connection, no matter how far it stretches around the world, can make a difference just when you need it the most.

    Every day I'm glad we've gotten to know each other better.

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