What's Real Generosity?
Anita Sharpe on Life
A few evenings ago, a relative passing through town called me to say that her accommodations for the night had fallen through, and could she and six co-workers spend the night with me instead?
'Sure,' I replied, my voice climbing about 15 octaves. My first thought was not that I didn't have enough beds, but that I didn't have enough towels. My second thought was, 'How am I going to be a gracious hostess in the morning with a child to get off to school and a pile of work to get to?' My third thought was, 'If I were a better person, I would welcome these strangers with open arms no matter how inconvenient it is.'
'So,' I said to my relative, 'I'd love to have you, but I do have a small guest room so I'll have to put all of your colleagues in sleeping bags.' They opted for a hotel room instead. I'm sure my strained voice had nothing to do with it.
But this got me thinking. Who's right? Those who counsel us to be willing to say 'no' when we're stretched to our limit or otherwise aren't able to give? Or those who say that real generosity is giving when it's not easy and you don't really want to?