Recently I was intending to sit down and write this post, but I got a call from my husband saying his car had broken down and could I drive him to the airport? He was flying to Edinburgh for work. So out goes the writing time and by the time I’d been to the airport and back, two school pick ups, picked up one childs’ school bags from another place an hour later, one McDonald’s trip, one drop off and pick up for a school choir evening function, I was considering buying one of those lights for the top of the car. You know the ones that light up and spell TA… you get the idea.
My unexpected trip to the airport with my husband allowed us to chat and his morning had been interesting, his car had broken down right on one of the busiest roundabouts in Oxford in rush hour. He had asked three people to help him push his car to the side of the road and they all had said no point-blank. No reasons, excuses or apologies, just “no”. He was standing in the middle of a three lane roundabout, with a car holding up all the traffic, and people wouldn’t even roll down the window or make eye contact. Maybe we’ve lived in the country a little too long but we both found the situation a little shocking. If you know my husband, he really doesn’t look threatening and he drives a mini so it’s not exactly a hard push!! In the end he resorted to calling the police and two friendly guys eventually did stop to offer help.
Because my husband was in Scotland for work, I was lone parenting for the weekend. By Saturday evening I was whooped already, and I’d still not tackled the seven-year old’s homework, I had two more loads of washing to do, and there wasn’t any cleaning getting done. The tough part about having a teenager, tweenager and a seven-year old is that nothing works for all of them. On one hand I’m a taxi driver, ATM and guidance counsellor and the other hand I’m a constant companion, homework supervisor and entertainer. I’m sure you have your parenting dilemmas too, it’s so hard juggling all the balls, you deserve a medal.
I know that when I’m tired the last thing I want to be is generous and I often fail at it. When you are a parent you feel as if your whole life is one big generous act on your children’s behalf and in a way it is. We need to be generous to ourselves too and soul-care is important. No one can give from an empty well.
But to be generous is part of who we were born innately to be and if for any reason we prevent ourselves or we get prevented for any reason, it is not good for us. There is always some way to bless someone and to live generously. We look to be the grand gesturers and think that it is beyond us, but there is a way to live open-handedly that will not only bless others but help us come more alive, more alive to who we were meant to be. There is an irony in that giving act of generosity, it comes back to us for our own good. Generosity is an act of soul-care.
Creativity is a form of generosity. When you create, you are putting out into the world your creation (whatever that might be), and it is a scary thing to do. We are scared of the criticism, we suffer the “who am I”, imposter syndrome, but it is a defiant act of generosity – to be creative, because through your gift to the rest of us, we understand life a little more, we feel less alone, we have something beautiful to enjoy. So be brave and be generous with what you create and even though I know that you don’t give for selfish intentions, you will find that it will help your own soul come alive.