The following post represents one of my  Reflections in turning 40, otherwise known as “Forty-flections”. 

Some time ago, during lunchtime at work, I decided to eat my burger outside to enjoy some sunlight.  No one else sat around me, so I had the place to myself.  As I started to eat, I noticed a few little birds landing onto the ground near my table.  It seemed to me that this was not a new thing to them.  It’s as if they knew that sometime, somehow, they could expect to get some bread crumbs from this person eating at the table (me).

Sensing this, I tore off a small piece off my burger bun and tossed it towards the little birds.  I had more than enough to spare.  They darted for the piece of bread, picked it up with their beak, and then flew off to a nearby fence to eat.  I broke off another small piece and tossed it in a different direction, and another little bird joined in.  I took a bite and then tore off another piece.  Another bite, another piece, another bird.   It was fun to see them dart in and out between the legs of the surrounding picnic tables, chasing each other for the piece of bread, and go off to enjoy their prize.  For me, it was a pleasure to see them chase, eat, and chirp joyfully afterwards.  It made up for what would otherwise have been a lonely lunch.

You know, it’s interesting how Abundance works.  When you have an Abundance of Something, and you feel like you’re not going to lose much if you give, you’re more willing to give of what you have.  If you’ve ever encountered a generous person, you’ll see that they’re not concerned about how much they have or how much they’ll have remaining.  It’s as if they’re not so concerned about what they have to lose when they give.  They just want to give…and give freely.

My wife spent many late sleepless nights in September and October processing and canning the produce we grew and harvested from our garden.  The kids and I helped in much of the effort, but most of it was hers.  We made soups, jams, jellies, sauces, salsa, canned and dried fruits.  A good portion of all of this effort, she told me, were for Christmas presents and giveaways to neighbors, friends, and those who may be struggling.

In previous years, I struggled with giving from our food storage.  In my mind, I was losing food for my family.  We worked, we struggled.  All of these canned foods cost us time, energy, work, sleep, and material resources.  This was OUR harvest from OUR labors.  I felt like I could give….but maybe just a jar or two…not an entire BOX FULL of OUR HARVEST!

But something changed in me through all the years of my wife’s generosity.  I noticed that we never lacked.  We always had enough.  And whenever we stood in need of something, someone was always generous to us…or our circumstances ended up having just what we needed, or more.   The more we gave materially, the more we got back in return, somehow…either materially or in some other unexpected way.  I don’t struggle with it now as I used to.

However, Generosity with Abundance isn’t only with material resources:

A person with an abundance of Patience is more willing to be patient.

One with an abundance of Endurance is more able to endure and encourage others to keep pressing forward as well.

Someone with a Creative Mind always seems to have ideas pop up left and right.

A humorously witty person seems to have that little saying available to cause you to laugh or think about something.

An opinionated person always has something to say, some advice to offer.

A generous person wants to give…and keep giving.
Someone filled with laughter can’t help but infect others with his laughter.

A child filled with love and hugs cannot contain herself….and must find someone to love and hug.

I’m learning that the purpose of Abundance is to make it easier for us to give more generously, without feeling like we have a lot to lose.  Selfishness always makes us feel like we’ll lose out…no matter how abundantly we have.  The trick in Giving Generously is to give freely, on your own…even when you don’t have an Abundance.

At least, that’s what a little bird taught me.

The LDS Lamplighter