written by a friend after a Generosity Dinner in Austin, Texas
As I sat at the generosity dinner* on a Tuesday night in November, I reflected on the people who’s lives had intersected mine and which of them might benefit from a financial gift from my community. I thought critically about my friends and coworkers, trying to decipher recent conversations to determine if any of them had hinted at needing some extra cash to pay medical bills or needing to replace the tires on their car and not knowing where they would get the money. As I contemplated, one person kept coming to mind- my sister.
It is rare for her to readily speak on her thoughts or emotions even to the people closest to her, so I was very surprised to be visiting her and my nephew a few months ago and she began divulging that she felt very overwhelmed with the task of keeping the household running. Her to-do list included repairing their fence, purchasing and installing a new dishwasher, repairing the lawnmower, and several other items. As she rattled the list off I was a bit shocked and I really wasn’t sure how to respond. It was so unlike my sister to be open about this kind of thing that I didn’t even recognize the opportunity to help her.
It’s a weird thing when you realize your family is in need.Wendi
It hits you hard. Here was this person whom I love and care about but it’s taken me so long to see that they could use a helping hand when all this time I’ve been “trying to find someone” for my community to honor and bless in whatever way we can. Honestly, it’s laughable.
The unspoken agreement to never discuss money is so prevalent in our society it seems vulgar to divulge things like your rent, car payment, student loan amount, or salary. The problem with this general lack of capacity for vulnerability is that it allows us to hide our needs and struggles from people. We then feel ashamed when we do need help, especially financial, even though we may be apart of a community that is so willing to lift us up in support.
At the generosity dinner that night I mentioned my sister could use a financial gift to help pay for the ever-growing list of repairs and replacements needed around her home. My community voted and decided to help fund her.
I told my sister over the phone and she cried. There are very few times I can recall my sister crying.
It touched me in a way that I hadn’t imagined it would and showed me a side of my sister I don’t think I’ve ever seen. She thanked me and she thanked the community.Wendi
But honestly, I am thankful to her.
I am thankful to my sister for being open with me and honest about where she was and how she was feeling.
I am thankful she broke through that unspoken agreement that we couldn’t be vulnerable with each other.
I thank her for changing our relationship and changing it for the better.