This past week I made a short video (selfie style) to talk about generosity, and my church aired the video during service. These videos are not strange to me, I’ve made a few talking about my family and the origin of my vocation, but this was the first one where I spoke about my mom.
To me, my mother was the image of a peacemaker. She was quiet, smiled often, and persevered through extremely tough situations. When my cousin John died at 10 months old at home from SIDS, my mom helped my aunt come to terms with his death. How does someone do that without inner strength?
While we were united and supported as a family, money was in short supply. We did not have hot water for years in an age where water heaters were in every home. So, my mom would boil water on the stove and carry it through the kitchen and laundry room to dump it in the tub. At that point, she had to do this multiple times a night — there were six of us kids!
My mother was the first person who taught me about generosity — the kind of spirit, and the kind with cash. We donated dimes and quarters to various world relief efforts, our local schools, and more. My mother was the diplomat in our home, the one most likely to remind you of someone else’s perspective and needs. She also gave me cash; where she got it, I will never know. She was a strong advocate for donating to local charities that help babies get a great start in life.
Somehow, I missed this connection in my head, but here I am, many years later, in an agency where the mission includes helping babies through early intervention and through early learning centers.
Peace-making and generosity are essential in all our lives. If we take some time, we can make connections to the best days, and our most cherished moments. In those moments, there was peace or generosity at work.
With DSP week and our Disability Summit behind us, I am reminded of a beautiful moment of generosity from the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. A few of our residents struggled to use masks, and a DSP suggested one resident help another. Residents helping each other is an example of the generosity of the spirit and the need to encourage others to share it.
If we begin each day with gratitude, we can offer peace, be generous, and cherish every day.