Irrational Generosity

Lately I’ve been hearing this phrase, “irrational generosity.” For me I’ve heard it in the context of faith communities. It’s a desired practice, often directed outward as a way to encounter or serve with community. Or with marginalized populations. In the best of those worlds, there is also desired practice directed inward. So many of us are learning to tend to self with such vigilance or kindness, as we might more naturally, or obligatorily, extend to others. I am learning about this inner tending. Irrational generosity with self opens up a certain recessed part of my heart. We all might have our varied versions of why such generosity might be needed with self, but these are connected, aren’t they.

I find plants can be very irrationally generous. Like this spring-flowering ground cover that patches into a few garden beds at my home. These petals are delicate. I find them elegant. I find them abundant. I find them irrationally generous. I know I’m anthropomorphizing here — plants do what plants do, not what Disney, Pixar, or Hallmark tell them to do. But there is an awe that I feel as I pass these petals on my way from front door to car, or to mail box, or to evening walk. I feel greeted with a kind of tail-wagging hello — not just a regular hello. Irrationally generous.

I’m the kind of human that feels there is an irrational generosity that we humans can grow together in groups. I’m not talking about martyred piety, though of course that will exist also. I’m talking about the way that we humans can, and sometimes do, turn to one another to avail ourselves, inner and outer, to a field of connection and learning together, that is more that just summed OKness together. When turned to one another, what is possible is a much broader field. It looks like ideas coming naturally. For me, it looks like inherent kindness, legitimized as a way of being together. It feels like honest truth telling, so as to be in going well together. I’m the kind of human that has enjoyed such flowers with many groups of people and many teams and many communities.

These days, such, even momentary wonder together that is irrational generosity, opens the spring of the inner and outer, individual and collective heart. For that — I’m rather tail-wagging grateful.