SJM's New Year's Resolution: Generosity
Blog post from Social Justice Mommy (SJM) - Heather Setka
I'm in Costa Rica right now visiting my sister. She moved here in early 2009, and it's the first time we've seen each other since she left. I thought it would be a crazy adventure, reliving our wild days.
But it's actually been a profound lesson in generosity.
My sister works for an international company, and sometimes people are sent to the office in Calgary. Back in the summer, a Costa Rican (Tico) named Max contacted me. He was in Calgary and wanted some information - where to get a good tattoo, where to buy a nice gift. He asked if we could meet up.
I brushed him off. I was too busy, had too many projects, not even a moment to share.
Well, it turns out Max could end up being my brother-in-law one day; since he's come back to Costa Rica, he and my sister have sparked up a lil' cross-cultural romance.
And since I've been visiting his home county, Max has hosted a dinner to welcome me. He's invited me to his family's home, stuffed me with tamales, cake and coffee. He spent Sunday chauffeuring me around to see a volcano and wander through a botanical garden. He's showered me with kindness and hospitality.
This generosity comes from a person who I couldn't give up one measly afternoon for when we were both in Canada.
Needless to say, I look pretty stupid.
One could argue that he's dating my sister, and he's just trying to impress me. But he's not the only one. Through happenstance, my sister and I ended up at a birthday party for a 15-year-old boy who we'd never met and have no ties to Max. We were nervous about feeling out of place and awkward. (Two tall blond Canadians sorta stick out at a Tico party.)
Our fretting was needless. They welcomed us, kissed us, fed us and cared for us.
During her speech before the cake cutting, the boy's mother even thanked us for coming.
I'm not sure I would treat people so well if they crashed my only child's birthday party.
So I've decided to set a new year's resolution, and share it with my daughter whenever circumstances arise.
Generosity is not something you make time for or schedule into your busy life. The opportunity to be generous springs itself on you in the form of an email from a stranger in a strange land.
If generosity is truly a way of life, you jump at the chance to feed and care for someone. And then you thank that person for coming.
Bio: Heather Setka is a journalist, editor and writer. Her work has appeared nationally on CBC-Radio, and in Metro Canada, Momeo Magazine and the Globe and Mail. She lives with her daughter in Calgary.