When my son was nine, his best friend moved three hours away. Over the next seven years, before the boys got their licenses, our two families would meet up halfway between us, coordinating weekend visits. We met at a barbeque restaurant and often ate lunch together.

One day, because our friends were busy, a neighbor did the driving and hand off. I was struck by his generosity - driving for several hours to help out a friend and to help our boys have some time together. When the check came, he insisted on paying for my son's and my meal.

I was moved by his generosity. He lives simply, in a small home in a small town. I don't think he's what we'd consider a wealthy person. But I'd only glimpsed a tiny smidge of his generous heart. That came later as we were leaving. He tutored me that day, and I've never forgotten it. I hope to be as generous as this man is in the world. I'm so grateful for the learning he gave me.


In the broiling heat of June you watch

the man stumble towards you in the parking

lot. On his wrist he wears his hospital band

and on his arms the sticky marks from an IV.

The local VA is well known here and you've

just finished eating lunch. He asks for money

and food and your stomach clenches. There's a

dollar and change in your wallet and money's a

chronic friction in your home. The man next to you

greets him like an old friend, “Here, sir,” and offers

several twenties from his wallet. “Get yourself a

bite to eat.” The vet asks if the food's good and he

reassures him that it is. “You have plenty to get

yourself a nice meal.”

You remember every time you gave a dollar

to someone living on the street. At times you

gave a five. You thought you were being generous

until this man showed you the measure of

generosity – to give as your father gives to you –

“Here, get yourself some lunch at the airport,” and

showers you with three twenties when you both

know one will do. But with three you breathe a

little easier. With three you walk into the restaurant

with your stomach unclenched. With three you're

not a veteran with tape on his arms and nowhere

to go, but for a moment you're a member of the tribe

of those with a tribe, a member of those who

have more than enough.

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