68: Generous Miracles

68: Generous Miracles

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Best Mom Ever!

Generous Miracles

Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.

~Arthur Ashe

She would give the shirt off her back to someone in need. My mother isn’t perfect and our relationship has definitely had its ups and downs, but her generosity is something I have always admired.

When my parents divorced, I was just two years old. My stay-at-home mom was thrust into the working world, sometimes even working two jobs to provide for her three children. Her most obvious acts of generosity came in how she would deny herself to make sure we were provided for. We didn’t have everything we wanted, but we always had what we needed.

Mom always reminded us that no matter how bad we thought things were, there were others who had it worse. We were struggling, but somehow she was still able to share what little we had with others, pulling off little miracles of giving.

My earliest memory of her generosity is from my elementary school years. I told her that a friend’s parents were going through a difficult time and I didn’t think my friend would be getting much for Christmas. I still don’t know how she did it, but my mom dropped off a bag of toys for that girl at the school’s front office. She still managed to provide a great Christmas for us, too, that year. My friend never knew the gifts came from my mom, because it was important to Mom that the girl believed the gifts were from her own parents.

In middle school, we were having a class trip and my best friend couldn’t afford to go. When my mom found out, she offered to pay for the trip as long as my friend’s parents could cover her personal expenses (food, souvenirs, etc.).

It was around this time I began to notice the many other things my mother did for those around her. Some gestures were small, like making a plate from our dinner and bringing it to an ill neighbor. Other gestures were blessings, such as the year she bought, hard boiled, and dyed hundreds of Easter eggs and donated them to a church she didn’t even attend.

Most of my mother’s generosity was anonymous. When a woman in our church was unexpectedly widowed, my mother snuck into service early every Sunday and left a small gift on the woman’s regular seat. She never missed a co-worker’s birthday or special occasion. She still donates to Salvation Army bell ringers, buys gifts for Angel Tree children, and puts money in the bucket when collections are being made.

Her example is her legacy, which has been passed on for generations. My sister, brother, and I have emulated her generosity. We each have our own ways in which we are called to help, almost always in anonymity, and always in sincerity. Donations of our time, goods, money… gifts, assistance, or even just a listening ear… these are all things rooted in the seeds my mother planted years ago. As we are all now parents, we are seeing this legacy continue in our own children.

~Gena McCown

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