The Two G's to a happy life.

In honor of Kathy's paying it forward.  I am re-posting this... most of you haven't read it, it was one of my first posts.

Okay, well maybe there are 3 if we are going to count "the spot", but that's a whole different post..(to come (no pun intended), I promise).  But, for now I want to rave about what I like to call "The Two G's".

                                  Gratitude and Generosity

I have worked through my sadness and frustration of yesterday's bleak view of the world provided by Fox.  I began thinking about how Grateful I am for the "riches" with which I have been blessed.  Gratitude always brings me home.  Back on track, back in focus.

I can impact my little corner of the world.  I choose to do this with Generosity.

Generosity is a funny thing.  I truly believe that most of us humans are Generous by nature.... we just don't know how to go about sharing it.  Being Generous to a stranger, has become somewhat, well, uncomfortable.  We have a natural instinct to perform random acts of kindness, but something stops us... what is it?

Right after 9/11, I was in line at a Trader Joe's.  A man behind me had just a protein bar to buy. I told the cashier to include it in my purchase.  A simple gesture, to save him time, spread some good will, you know, Generosity.  What happened next was well, odd.  

First of all, the cashier acted as though I had made my request in Latin.  This act of me paying for someone else's item threw him for a serious loop.  He stuttered, stammered, asked me to clarify.  Then asked the recipient of my G, the gentleman behind me, if it was okay that I purchase his energy bar for him.

This in turn confused my "victim" ... thankfully, only for a moment, because the next moment was amazing.  This man, (I think he was a construction worker) literally embraced me.  Yes, put his arms around me and then announced to the rest of the small, intimate market what I had done.  People were clapping, smiling... it was totally surreal.  We are talking about a $3 item, but a gesture that was priceless to everyone in that Trader Joe's during a time when we Americans felt like the rug had been pulled out from beneath us.

I have made similar gestures since then, none of course with the same elaborate response.  In fact, some people get physically uncomfortable when on the receiving end of random Generosity.  This only confirms my belief that its not that we humans aren't Generous, it's that somewhere we lost our ability to be Gracious when Generosity is unexpectedly thrown our way.  

So I challenge you, I urge you, I double-dog dare you!  Go forth and be Generous.  Spend a day being Gracious!  Don't worry about that moment of shock and awkwardness, as it gives way to something wonderful... a real, human connection.

© 2008 The R Family Diaries.  All Rights Reserved.


Coach Krista said…
Great post! I think that this world has become self centered and if each person choose a day to be gracious one by one we could turn it around. I have a caregiver originally from Jamaica and their culture is so different then ours. Ours may have had some of the same ways back in the day. When one family would could for the village. Today you wonder if your neighbor delivers food. Where did it come from, did they use a clean surface etc.... Like it.

Heather said…
I have found that I can remind myself daily to be grateful, but I rarely think to be generous. I think generosity requires you to go beyond your comfort level. For me, it's a question of what if my act of kindness isn't appreciated or even resented. I would've been so afraid of making the protein bar guy feel awkward. And see? Just the opposite happened. There's no telling what kind of difference you made in that man's life. It might've changed everything for him. I think gratitude takes grace, but generosity takes guts.
Runner Girl said…
What a wonderful post. I truly think that God wants us...intends for us to be generous...abundantly generous, and I have proof. I am not joking when I say that EVERY TIME I ask God to send me some random money to give away, he comes through, sometimes the same day! The last time I asked God to give me some money to give away, Parisian sent me a check for $94 that I had overpayed on my bill in 2006!!! It seems that I overypay my bills frequently. Good for you for recognizing that we all need to be grateful and generous--a perfect balance. And, welcome to the bloggy world!
swilek said…
Your story of generosity reminded me of the time I tried to be generous to a stranger- show a random act of kindness- in the line of Tim Horton's ( It is a Canadian icon coffee shop!!!:):) Amazing coffee, yes, better than Starbucks!!:) ) Nearly every morning I go to the same Tim Horton's on my way to work and nearly every morning there is a long line up. Well, the Monday I decided to pay for the coffee of the person behind me, there was NO line up....I waited for a bit but nothing!! I had to go to work. So, I came back Tuesday morning and line up! I was wondering if that was a sign!!!:0 But, I didn't give up and no line up on Wed...FINALLY, I was able to pay for someone on Thursday! It was funny!!! But, like you, the cashier was totally confused!:):) But, I continue to randomly show acts of kindness...we need generosity and grace in this world!!
Jennifer P. said…
Love this post. My favorite thing to do is when I'm eating in a restaurant and spy a little old couple out, I ask the waiter to bring me their bill. I've never had anyone embrace me, most of the time I run out of the place before they have a chance to figure out who it was that paid for them---but it makes my heart smile for days.

I'll remember these two qualities as the 2 G's from now on ;)!
Sunshine said…
I love it. It's totally made in us to do this, but you're totally right! It's the gracious part we're afraid of! Or the lack of gracious! That and Fox News.

But yes...keep preaching, sister friend! A preacher did this recently (Fox News)...he encouraged his congregation to Pay It Forward (instead of putting it in the church fund, etc...).

We want to be safe (Fox News), but there are people walking in public places that literally have to choose groceries over prescriptions. Or gas over dinner that day. I'm so inspired. Thanks girl. I needed a kick in the butt.
Being generous is so much fun. We like to do this at the toll booth...and once a week we head through the McDonald's drive thru...and it's fun to pick up the tab for the people behind us. I have no idea what anyone just makes me smile. Now being gracious...that is challenging. I am trying to learn how to graciously accept compliments with a simple "thank you."
Debbie said…
Even the tiniest bit of generosity you extend comes back tenfold without you ever knowing about it asking for it. That guy will probably never ever forget the kindness of a complete stranger.
scargosun said…
Such a great post. We all need reminders like this now and again even if we already do stuff like that.
For me, what always surprises me when I am generous or gracious is how good it makes me feel. Selfish, I know, but it's true.
Anonymous said…
What a beautiful post! I have linked your blog to mine because I am having so much fun reading it! Being generous ultimately blesses person being generous. Thanks for sharing!
Insane Mama said…
Great post
I just wanted to share a beautiful act that I witnessed just the other day.
I was stuck in LA traffic(as usual) and I looked over at the Mc Donalds and one homeless man was reaching into his pocket to get some money to share with another homeless man so that he too could get a hamburger. Now that is Generosity
John Deere Mom said…
How awesome is that?! Thanks for sharing. You have inspired me to show more generosity. What a simple gesture that means so much!
KatBouska said…
This is a great post and I totally agree, being generous is fun as long as the recipient is gracious. Good word. I have a member ship at the Children's Museum that allows us to bring three free guests per visit. I like to take people out of line and bring them in with us, saving them around 21 bucks. You'd be surprised at how many people look at me cross eyed and refuse to go in with me. It's just weird. Thanks for the love by the way!!
~Sheila~ said… I know this is totally off the subject of your generosity post...but I just wanted to let you know that I just received the book Twilight in the mail yesterday. I haven't started reading it yet but I will very soon.
I got it SUPER cheap at
Book + shipping was less than $10.
Connie said…
Okay ... I am going to be generous and call each and every baseball coach and find out why ... with less than a week to go before games start ... why no one has called us to let us know what team my kids are on. I know, sounds not so generous right? Well, typically I'd call the president of the org and give them a piece so I figure this is the 'generous' route for today.
Debbie said…
Tiffany...yoo hooo....are you there??? You haven't posted since Sunday....wheeerree aaarrreee yoooouuu? I need a Tiff fix, please ;)
Schmerica said…
girl you are so cool! i don't know many people who would do that (sadly enough). it's like a woman opening a door for a guy or letting him go before her in line...they don't know how to take a ladies' graciousness.
Karen said…
What a great story :) I love that there are still wonderful, generous people in the world.
Lynda said…
Beautiful! These are the stories that change lives and make a difference.
TuTu's Bliss said…
Wonderful post and reminder.
Anonymous said…
I completely agree. When I was fundraising for my breast cancer walk, I found that the most generous people were those that did not have a lot of money to give. I definitely find ways to give back every day. Thanks for the great post!
Sara said…
Such a great post!

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