Recently another blogger asked readers to say what quality they valued most in a person.
Responses included things like integrity, loyalty, kindness and compassion.
In thinking about the question, I would say all of those qualities are things I value. But the one that stood out most in my mind was generosity.
I do not think of myself as particularly generous, although I try. I have a long way to go, though.
My parents always set a great example of generosity. They never had a great deal of cash to give people, but they constantly gave of their time and energy. I saw it when I was growing up in the things they did for church and service organizations. They continued doing this into their 80s. The delivered meals-on-wheels until my father's health gave out and he could no longer drive. My 87-year-old mother doesn't like to drive anymore, but she has a friend who recently had back surgery. My mother has taken it upon herself to drive the friend to the beauty parlor each week. Good examples of simple but real generosity of spirit.
Tom is another person whose generosity I admire. I cannot begin to tell you how many hundreds of hours he has given to the little railroad and to other organizations in his retirement. When I worked at the law office in Baraboo when we first moved to Wisconsin, he would go in and do my job at no charge to the firm so that I could take time to visit my family in Texas. (I had no paid vacation days, of course.) Even when I took time off at the library, where I did have vacation time, he would go in and work for hours as a volunteer to free up a librarian to take over my regular duties. He is also able and willing to donate money to individuals and causes, but it is his generosity of time, energy and talent that most impress me. (He is a gifted artist, as many of you know, and has designed all of my book covers with the exception of the John of the Cross mystery.)
It was this generosity, I think, that first attracted me to Tom. So I suppose I will say generosity is what I value most.
Now I must try to emulate the good example I have been given.