Friday, May 18, 2012

On: Generosity


You might see a few penny candies, but this is actually picture of extreme generosity.

A boy, an orphan, on a rare adventure to Port au Prince to celebrate Haiti's Flag Day, collected a few pieces of candy during the parade.  He counted out four and put them in his pocket.  Hours later, he brought them to me.  Shyly passing them into my hand, he told me that there was one for me, one for Chris and one each for Xander and Ella.

This child has nothing.  Even his clothes and shoes are shared among 10 or 12 other boys his size.  But today he was given something- it was his fare and square.  He could have eaten it or saved it to savor over the next few days.  But instead, he set these little candies aside- more excited about his opportunity to be generous than about sweeties.

A few days ago, two little ones came up to my room to tell me they were hungry.  This happens every so often, but we typically do not hand out food (unless we have 42 more).  But, that day, I could see that these kids really were hungry.  Moreover, they saw the two granola bars I had just pulled out for my own snack.  The left happily munching my chewy peanut butter bars.  I went back to reading.

A short while later, I can hear "Come into my heart.  Come into my heart. Come into my heart, Lord Jesus!" being sung by exuberant little Haitian voices.  I peek out to see two peanut butter covered faces glowing as they bellow the words "Come into stay,   Come into stay, Lord Jesus!".  They continue their serenade, I hope oblivious to the tears in my eyes, and shout "Tank you madame Jennifur!" 

This song was their gift.  Their return.   They gave all they had to give in that song. 

Generosity is about giving.  But that is only half the relationship.  Until recently, it was the only half I was really familiar with.  I knew how to give; I enjoyed (and still do) giving.  But not until I found myself on the receiving end of generosity did I begin to understand its beauty.  

Generosity funds my life right now.  We couldn't live and work in Haiti if not for the generous support that we receive.  Friends sacrifice their own pleasures so that we may do this work.  The faith of those who give to us is humbling and inspiring. 

We have been blessed to receive donations in many sizes.  Each one is special, cherished.  But, I don't know if any can quite match 4 pieces of candy and a song.