8 Week Challenge: Submission: Generosity and Me

Today we have a new contributor to the 8 Week Challenge. Sharing it Forward has joined the challenge and has submitted this essay for her week of Generosity. Please check out her blog for the original post!

Generosity and Me

Generosity, by definition, is simply the liberal and unselfish sharing of excesses.

When I sat down and started writing about my week I began to see more clearly the impact that I’m capable of making in the lives of others. How powerful is that? I, and all of humankind, have the power to sprinkle generosity all over the place or we can choose not to. Here is my choosing.

My daughter called me on Tuesday asking if I would babysit for her on Wednesday night, overnight and all day Thursday. My grand-kids are Rylie (3) and Alana (1). On Wednesday I left early so I could spend some time with my daughter before she left and I wanted to take Alana to the park.

It was a great time for her and me too to spend some alone time together.

My daughter and her new boyfriend left to celebrate Easter with his Grandmother who she was meeting for the first time. I spent the night and the next day playing and taking care of the kids. Then I brought Rylie home with me and he stayed until Sunday. He spends every other Thursday-Sunday with me. He is one of the best babies I know and very sweet and sympathetic for his age. But, he had some things in store for me this weekend.

I quit counting how many times I had to put him in time out. He refused to sleep or nap even to the point I had to wipe his eyes with cold rags because they burned for sleep. I talked to him about the changes in his life and how they were impacting him. He can’t tell me how he feels so he was doing a pretty good job of showing me.

I kept my cool when he decided to get up during nap time (I was participating in nap time too) and emptied all the coffee in the house onto the couch and painted the couch so pretty with my favorite bottle of fingernail polish or even the two gallons of milk he spilled on the kitchen floor.

With my compassion and love that I have for this little boy I fulfilled my True Sharing without even realizing it. I spent almost four days giving him the attention that he is craving and understanding the hurt that he is feeling inside. I kept my promise to love him unconditionally by keeping discipline constant and showing and telling him how I love him and how special of a person he is becoming.

This past week was a difficult week for me to touch on things that I’ve done because I usually go into town to the gym everyday but didn’t make it everyday so I have to be…lets say…creative with some of my days.

On Monday I got a call from my friend saying that “I needed to come quickly because someone was freaking out”. That’s it, that was my explanation. I didn’t ask any questions, she lives less than a minute away so I hopped in my car and drove down there. When I arrived she and her soon-to-be daughter-in-law sat at the kitchen table looking as casual as any other day.

I thought, maybe I’m at the wrong place? What was so urgent? So I sat down and began to listen. After a short explanation my friends soon-to-be daughter-in-law, let’s call her Sam. Well, Sam has some mental issues and is dealing with getting on Social Security Disability at a young age, she will be 41 this year. She’s having issues getting the information correctly both to SS and her lawyer. My friend, knowing that I’ve also been through the same process in my 30′s called to me for help (I have medical memory problems as well as other issues). So I stayed to help her the best I could.

My friend left after a while saying that Sam needed to be around people her age that understood what she was going through. Now, I already knew Sam through my friend but it was kind of an awkward moment. I didn’t know what to say, so I listened and asked questions that required a response from her.

After a few minutes Sam started crying. I’m ashamed to admit that my first instinct was to run to my car…drive home and cuddle up on my couch and never answer my phone ever again. I’m nowhere near the point to deal with my own emotional problems and Sam’s were too close for comfort.

But I didn’t run, I stayed. It’s not a fun day when you realize after a long battle at trying to keep a job(s) that you are no longer able to be a part of society in that way. It’s like a death of part of yourself. And my friend was right, I was able to help Sam because I knew where those tears were coming from. I didn’t rush her, instead waited for her to finish. We had a real deep conversation until she had to go. She asked me to come up the next day because she was going to start her new medication, Lithium. She wanted my friend and me to watch her for possible side effects.

I came up the next day and we all sat around the kitchen table, drank coffee and Sam faxed some SSDI paperwork to her attorney. Sam said she felt real good in the morning. It hadn’t even been 24 hours since she started taking her new medication so we will be keeping an eye on her, making sure she doesn’t have any negative side effects. I also called her on the phone throughout the week to remind her that I was there for her and stopped by on my way home the other day. She says she feels a little better but is still having issues with sleeping at night.

On Wednesday I went to Curves in a desperate attempt to collect endorphins. I always feel better after Curves and Wednesday was no different.

While I was out I made it my mission to sprinkle around some situational generosity. So often I see people wearing something or being their best and I think about it in my mind but don’t always say it. If you look hard enough you will find that most everyone has something that can positively commented on. But the people who deserve the compliment never get it if I keep it in my mind.

A woman was leaving Curves as I was coming in. She was wearing the sheerest, springy blouse that was really becoming on her. I told her that I loved her top and that it looked great on her. She thanked me, smiled and went on her way. Maybe she thought about this later in the day when she took it off too. It makes me feel good to make other people feel good. Why don’t I do this more often? I realize now that it’s more of a conscious decision to make, much more so than entering a room wearing a smile which is something I always do.

Another thing I discovered is that situational generosity doesn’t have as much to do with the people I choose to sprinkle, but more with how I’m feeling at that moment. It’s kind of like the saying, “What goes around comes around”. What’s ironic about this is, how I’m feeling at any given moment is highly dependent on the actions of others and whether I’ve been sprinkled lately.
This is my Generosity Essay for the 8 week challenge offered by Alternate Economy/Daring to Live in Love. The 8 Week Challenge: Balancing Your Emotions to Live in Love, Week 1 Generosity