Growing up my family was constantly on the receiving end of generous people. My mother, a somewhat single female (stepfather wasn’t really around much) raising two daughters constantly worked and did her best to keep a roof over our heads and food in our pantry.
I remember standing in the food stamp line (yes, it was a line) getting our monthly government approved food with our pillow cases stripped from our bed. Children would get more than adults so my mother would gather all our friends and we’d make our way down the street to the warehouse that they filtered everyone through to get their food. A bag of beans, rice, noodles and some soft shelf stable cheese. If they had cans of veggies we’d get that. A bag of flour, sugar, dried milk and coffee. A salted ham or chicken if they were available and other meat. Sometimes farmers would give fresh fruit and veggies, and kids got a handful of some candy.
My Grandpa and Aunt would always help us with other expenses and they gave us gifts and took us out to eat. My Grandma (Min) would buy our school clothes and we’d also get clothes from the church thrift stores.
This was my life even after I was married to my first husband… always depending on the generosity of others. I was ashamed that I couldn’t survive on my own. It was hard to make a living and be successful like my Aunt and Grandfather. I felt like nothing I ever did would get me to be so successful that I could also give generously.
My perception of my generosity began changing after I was divorced. It’s not that I wasn’t able to give generously, it’s that my idea of generosity was skewed to think it was all about giving financially.
I started volunteering my time and donating my services to non profits and I found a new form of generosity that didn’t drain my already challenged student bank account. I found joy in helping others through my time and talent. A way for me to finally give back.
My hope is to continue to be generous with my time and talent and as I’m more able with my treasure. I reflect on my past and now am blessed that I was on the receiving end of generosity, I no longer have shame but gratitude for everyone that showed me that generosity is more than the coin I can give. So much more…
~Candice C Carver