One of the most touching and poignant episodes during this period of relative helplessness while my eye is being operated on and treated, concerns generosity – and I’ve learned that it’s a universal principle that transcends individual circumstances.
In the course of one day, two people in my life taught me about the gift of generosity in ways that touched my heart and brought tears to my eyes.
A friend with more money
The first instance was when a friend called to say that she was food shopping and asked if she could pop by to bring me some things.
I appreciated her thoughtfulness and would have been happy with a visit – but she arrived, laden with bags bulging with nurturing, healthy and beautiful food. These delicious treats made me feel abundant and spoiled in the best possible way.
A friend with less money
The second instance happened shortly after this. I received a text message from another friend who is a refugee from a neighbouring country. I met him because his wife helps me in my house once a week and I’ve come to know and love them both for their pure hearts, lovely natures and their integrity and courage in how they live their lives.
This couple, by most Western standards, have very little money. They live in a tiny dwelling that is barely the size of my bedroom, but they live with a quiet dignity and they welcome me warmly whenever I visit. They have a young daughter who lives with them in this country but they’ve had to leave their other little girl with family in their home country of Zimbabwe. Both husband and wife work six to seven days a week to support themselves, their own two children and the daughter of a sister who has died. They are slowly gathering together a few possessions but they live very humbly and have little to spare.
But, despite their circumstances, I received a text message from them to find out what I needed and to ask what they could bring me. And, even though they use public transport and have to walk kilometers to get it, they were two of the first people to visit me to bring comfort and reassurance.
Both friends are wealthy beyond price
In both of these cases, I was given pure generosity with no expectation of anything in return. It wasn’t so much about the amount of money they spent, but the purity and tenderness of their intention.
One of the great blessings that has come from my damaged eye is that I’ve come to see in a much deeper way how much generosity, kindness, warmth and love there is around me. As one dear friend said: ‘In case you don’t fully get it, kindness is being thrown at you from all sides!’
It’s what’s lasting that really matters
Relationships of the heart, of love, friendship and generosity are eternal. Long after I’m gone from this world and my physical eye will no longer matter, I will continue to have bonds of love with all the precious souls in my life – and for this I feel privileged and grateful.