THE GENEROSITY PARODOX: JENNY’S STORY
To begin living generously initially feels like everything is coming undone. This growth can be both awkward and taxing. However, as you stretch yourself, you realize there is more to life than what you own and can hold onto. You begin to understand the true abundance of loving someone outside of yourself and the true gift of humanity. You start living!
My son’s journey through autism and my realization that I couldn’t do it all on my own forced me to open my life up to the generosity of others. I have learned so much from these people in my life as a result.
I feel as though our culture has lied to us. It has cultivated an environment that believes that our life is only about us and the hard work we need to put in to get our reward and ultimately reach our happiness. So many times, that reward comes and yet we couldn’t be further from that elusive happiness. In watching all of these beautiful people in my life so freely giving and continuing to come back (many for 2 years now), I have realized that the more you give your life away to others, the more you will find it.
I have realized that the more you give your life away to others, the more you will find it.
This has now become a way of life for me. I am convinced that the finer things in life cannot be purchased. They can only be discovered through generosity.
I am convinced that the finer things in life cannot be purchased. They can only be discovered through generosity.
We need to live generosity with intentionality and audacity! We were created to live through putting love into action. It is only then that I believe we find the satisfaction in life we are searching for. We feel complete.
I have said this so many times before, but feel the need to state it again. I do not consider my son a hardship. He is not lucky to have me, I feel it is quite the opposite. It has and continues to be my privilege to be given the opportunity to grow as a human being through just knowing him and having him in my life. He is beautiful in so many ways and he is my life teacher. It is because of Lucas that I ultimately have discovered the true meaning of life and the importance and beauty of EVERY person I encounter while living it.
It is because of Lucas that I ultimately have discovered the true meaning of life and the importance and beauty of EVERY person I encounter while living it.
Meet Jenny and here is her story:
The way that opportunities arise in a person’s life can be very strange. Sometimes you really do just happen to be in the right place at the right time, or at least that is what I like to believe about meeting the Carlson family.
My son Jack and I have been going to the same branch of PNC Bank in Lake Orion since before he could walk. At the bank, I often worked with a very nice man named Mr. Keith. One day, Jack and I were told that Mr. Keith no longer worked at PNC and that Brad Carlson would be our new representative. Being someone who is somewhat averse to change, I wasn’t sure how I would handle a new bank contact. However, Brad immediately put us at ease by talking about his family and showing Jack and I pictures of them. Brad was always very helpful and easy to talk to.
After some months of polite conversation and fascinating discussions about the economy, Brad approached me about being a volunteer in the Son-Rise Program. After reading about the program and meeting the rest of Brad’s family, including Lucas, it seemed like a great opportunity.
I have a very hard time remembering those first few months of volunteering, mainly because Lucas has improved so dramatically with the program. I barely recognize the old videos of Lucas that Shannon sometimes plays at team meetings. He has gone from a child who barely recognized that the volunteers were in the room with him, to someone who wants to interact with us all the time, both in and out of the room.
I know that Shannon loves to tell people about the program and all her “amazing” volunteers, but we don’t often get to tell our side of the story. I can’t say enough wonderful things about this program and how it just makes sense. If you make someone comfortable and just enjoy being in their presence without asking anything of them–they will notice you. They will want to be part of your world. (And singing lots and lots of silly songs doesn’t hurt either).
The Son-Rise Program works for the children involved, but it also works for the volunteers. It grounds you, and forces you to be present. And staying in the moment and genuinely being happy carries over into all aspects of your life. Being with Lucas and playing in the room helps you to realize what is important and what is not. Most things in life aren’t nearly as rewarding as connecting with others. Being present helps me to be a better person, and I owe that to the Son-Rise Program and Lucas!