Once upon a time there were three beautiful sisters…
And each one had her own reason to be
The firstborn sister, the bossy one, yes? Has had physical ailments for years.
The middle one, who either never does wrong or never gets caught, recently said goodbye to her husband a few decades earlier than she had planned.
The little baby one, who is known for leave-a-welt cheek pinching, left this week to finally pick up her husband from the hospital after his leg amputation.
But they are giving and joyful people.
They bring each other little gifts, and phone calls fly every night as one checks on the other and then on the other.
I’ve been watching them, wondering why some hearts face pain and turn inward and bitter while somehow these three sister’s hearts are all turned outward –looking to the needs of others, encouraging, finding ways to give.
I laid awake thinking about this last night. I was comparing my heart to theirs and could feel how easy it would be to shrivel into my own daily struggles instead of allowing my pain to be flipped into compassion for other people.
What a pleasure and encouragement to be around the generous and joyful ones.
How can we be like this?
Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. (Philippians 2:4 NIV)
So then, generosity is a habit of thinking. Purposefully broadening our mental vision to include not only our own struggle but that of the person next to us.
Praying for someone else.
Finding a way to give to someone else.
Serving someone else.
Even though we have our own stress and pain to worry about.
Now here is something amazing –those three sisters I talked about are on my side of the family. On my husband’s side there are three beautiful sisters as well, each with her own perfectly good reason to be cynical, depressed, and self-absorbed. They also have suffered great loss and pain over the years, but their hearts mirror the hearts of my mom and her two sisters.
Full of joy and generosity.
With hearts turned outward instead of sucked into self.
So let us look down at our own hearts.
I will leave each one of you to ask the question I force on myself today: Do I have a serving, generous, compassionate heart or a self-absorbed, self-pitying heart?
Today begins the habit of being the generous people.