gen·er·os·i·ty

I checked dictionary.com a few minutes ago to ruminate on the actual meaning of the word generosity. And yes, I know I should get a proper dictionary, but all I had close by was a computer and it was a last ditch effort to get some kind of inspiration flowing and unclog my blog.

I’m having an acute case of writer’s block—to be sure—but I’m also quite certain that God is testing me by throwing every curmudgeonly character in our “beloved church” at me this week. Sadly, it has left me questioning my faith and feeling terribly ungenerous. Or as the aforementioned magic eight-ball of internet wisdom suggests, I am miles away from being “free of meanness or smallness of mind or character.”

The partial definition reminded me of a moniker worn by a young woman who was lost in Union Station a few weeks ago, a woman I failed to help on a day when my mind and character were behaving particularly small. She arrived on the lower subway platform and told everyone she was from Alberta and needed help finding her way. Her tiny frame was dwarfed by an enormous backpack and a big puffy ponytail. Sitting high on top of the pack was a pillow in a case with creases so sharp they could only have been put there by a God-fearing Prairie Grandmother.

The fresh air of youthful freedom she carried with her was a stark contrast to the musty, dusty ball of encumbrance I was dragging that day. The very sight of her annoyed the hell out of me and so it became my turn to take a kick at the crusty curmudgeon can.

Pinned to the pillow was a black button with big block letters that read “MEAN PEOPLE SUCK”. It was staring at me like a big all-knowing Cyclops eye that could see into the depths of my dark, jealous heart.

On a good day—when I’m not a horrible, wicked person—I’m quite open to the world. Normally I’m like a magnet for people who don’t have a clue where they’re going. I should get some kind of honorary docent’s award from the Toronto Transit Commission for all my good directional deeds. But not that day, and not with her. I wasn’t going to give an ounce of generosity to little miss freedom… running wild and free through the subway on her way to some big adventure.

She spun ‘round and I knew she was going to ask me for directions so I turned and walked away before she could see the whites of my eyes. Thankfully a group of more compassionate commuters adopted her and in the end she was in very hospitable hands. By the time I exited at Bloor Street she was exchanging emails and the whole Subway car was gearing up to head out west with her for the Stampede.

I went to work that day feeling a bit like I do today—it’s just so true. Mean people really do suck.

In this blog, Michelle Hauser, manager of annual giving, tackles the topic of generosity—from small stories of daily inspiration to the overall mission of the church.