Try a Little Tenderness

Several weeks ago, a short article in the Star Tribune caught my eye.  The Ebola outbreak in Africa effectively trapped a woman and her two children, preventing them from getting home to Minnesota.  In order to return, they would’ve needed to travel cross-country before boarding a series of more-expensive flights.  The paper interviewed the woman’s husband from their home in a Minneapolis suburb.  He sounded hopeless.  He worked nights at a group home, trying to pay bills and set aside money for three rerouted return flights.

I expected a paragraph at the end of the article: “If you would like to donate to the X family fund, please send donations to Y bank where a fund has been established.”  Nope.  Nothing.  I recognized the family’s social worker as the grandma of one of The Big E’s classmates.  I contacted her and learned that the man was in the process of setting up an account, but I could simply send him a check.

I hesitated.

Several weeks later, I learned that four people independently stepped forward and offered to foot the entire bill.  The family would be reunited.  I felt schooled – in a good way.  Not shamed, but schooled.  Those four individuals moved through their moment of hesitation into action.  Maybe they didn’t even experience any hesitation.

How do we open ourselves to unconditional generosity?

Ace listened to a TED talk on the way home from work yesterday.  Who doesn’t love a little Krista Tippett?  This isn’t the talk Ace described, but I got so wrapped up in it and there you have it.  Tippett discusses compassion, how ideally it embodies curiosity + kindness + empathy + forgiveness + hospitality + generosity + presence + seeing the beauty in others.

She describes the Jewish concept of Tikkun Olam, or fixing the world.  In the beginning, the divine light was scattered.  People have a responsibility to look for that light, and in doing so, they heal the damaged world.

To be continued – I have to bake eight dozen cookies tonight…

Musical Moment

This entry was posted in Blog and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Try a Little Tenderness

  1. Jeanne Walthour says:

    i learned a similar lesson from this. The simple generosity of these three men to come forward was pretty amazing. One was a marketing person and one owned his own law firm in Mpls. I know religion was an important factor for the final benefactor as it is for the Mayson family. It was one of those meetings meant to be.
    Another great story came from this. A sweet 87 year old women called me at work. She wanted to do something. I told her someone had come forward and was paying for everything. She still wanted to do something and said her Social Security account looked pretty fat. She wanted to send $200. I thanked her and got a check and note days later for $500.
    I can be judgemental. I knew this family had only one cell phone, no land line, one car, no cable TV, no WI FI and I never saw fast food wrappers around. There you go!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *