Tell your story about giving and inspire others to live generously.

I Like thinking and doing.

Submitted by Brian (Chattanooga)

Homeless guy with stocking and Christmas tree makes me stop and think

Running is more than exercise for me, it is an opportunity for me to think – and lately I’ve had one particular thing rolling around my mind. I took off down the somewhat secluded trail behind my office. It curves under an overpass, and it caught my eye as I rounded the corner. Tucked up high on the ledge near what would be the bottom of the road was a small Christmas tree with stockings hanging from the structure.

It was one homeless man’s way of keeping alive at least a sliver of the Christmas Spirit. It also unlocked for me the opportunity to do what it was I’d been thinking about. It was an opportunity to be generous.

Now, I’ve always considered myself a generous person, and lately generosity has been a theme that’s been stuck in my mind. The more I thought about it, the more I realized I’ve been a generous person when opportunities to be generous found me. But that changed when I saw the video.

When I saw the video, I knew I had to do something. I had to be more aggressively generous.

“The Video” is a short story about a husband and wife who have adopted six children from all over the world, some of whom have significant disabilities. I was pointed to the video at the by a friend with whom I’d been having a conversation about generosity. I was moved by the couple’s unconditional giving spirit and it challenged me to open my eyes and look around for opportunities to be generous.

I wish I could say I went out and did something extravagant like adopt children with special needs to give them a safe, loving home. All I did was return to the overpass and leave a small amount of money and a note for a man I’ve yet to meet. I’m hoping in some small way he received it as a big act of kindness that arrived in his moment of need.

I don’t see it as mission accomplished; generosity complete. I see it as a beginning. Seeing the couple’s generosity has inspired me to be more alert to what is going on around me and do what I can to be generous.

So I’ve quit thinking about what I could do for others and think more about what I will do for others.

The doing makes thinking much more fun.