Sixty-two years ago today my dad was born in Ada, Oklahoma. He was the first of my grandparent’s 4 children and had all of the typical characteristics of the first born. He was a definite “Type A”: responsible, dependable, cautious, well-planned, goal-oriented, organized, had an excellent work ethic, etc. He was also one of the most generous people I have ever known.
Somebody could call Dad at midnight asking for him to bring his truck to help pull their vehicle out of the ditch or to help take care of the moose they had just shot or any number of things, and it didn’t matter if he had already worked a 12-hour day and had to get up in 5 hours to do it all over again or was having terrible back pain like he often did — he would hang up the phone, gather his things and be right there for whoever needed him. I can remember more than just a few times when he’d get up and mom or Brandon or I would be saying “You’re kidding?! You are already so tired and hurting. Why didn’t you just tell them you couldn’t?” And he’d just shrug it off like it was nothing and he would suffer for it later. But as long as anyone was in need and he thought he could help, he would.
For Mom’s birthday or their anniversary or special occasions like that she would tell him not to spend much and he would always agree, and then come home with a huge bouquet of flowers or something over the top like that because he just wanted to do something special for her.
Dad was the most difficult person in the world to buy for because when we’d ask him what he’d like for his birthday or Christmas his answer was always the same: “I don’t need anything. I just want to be with my family.” Regardless of him going a little overboard for others, he never expected the same in return.
I think that kind of attitude is a mark of true generosity; to be so giving, yet never think of what, if anything, might be offered back.
Generosity isn’t remarkable because of how much we have to give, it is remarkable simply because we choose to give.
You can ask my mother: there were times my parents didn’t feel like they had much of anything to give (time, help, money, etc.), but when they felt the prompting to do so, they still gave.
Today on my Dad’s birthday I would love to make him some French-pressed coffee, talk for hours, watch him play with Judah and laugh at them laughing together.
I’m thinking of his generosity today because I want to be generous like that. He taught me many things, but giving was intertwined in it all.
Generosity comes from the heart. In the purest form, it isn’t forced or coerced. It just flows out.
Happy Birthday, Daddy! I know you are whole and well, full of joy and peace in God’s presence!