Generosity of my father

Do you sometimes have this uneasy feeling when pondering whether to extend your hand to someone who is in need and come to you for help?

All the what-ifs: What if they are just using us? What if they can’t fulfill their promise to return to whatever they are borrowing? What if they just want to have it easy, and that they can actually do better without having to come to us? What if this become a habit? What if I give too much that I am not saving enough for myself or my own family? The what-ifs that stop us from lending a hand.

Not my father. As far as I can remember, there was always someone—a relative, a friend, a family (as in husband, wife, and their children)—staying at our house. They became an extended family to mine. There was always people coming up to my father asking for advices, job opportunities, or other supports.

Somehow he always had room for them. He always had time. Perhaps, it is more that he always made room and time for them, with open arms and good thoughts. He did it swiftly, without a minute to waste, as if he did not have to think at all.

It was not like he seemed nice all the time. He was sometimes quite stern. He often said you could not borrow money if you could not think of a way of paying it back—then he gave the money anyway (sometimes not the full amount) without expecting it to ever return to him.

He was insightful. He noticed potentials and possibilities. He pushed people to go beyond their known limit. He pushed quite hard. And most of the time, they did it, they moved beyond their own expectation. That too was an example of his generosity, in his own way.

My father was not the richest man on earth by normal standard. But the way he always gives, in my book, he is certainly one rich man indeed. The richness that implies one feels in abundance so much so that one is light in sharing with others.

His generosity shines a light on how all my hesitations and doubts are really not necessary, or misplaced. We put our trust in Him. Whatever comes our way is a ‘test’ on whether we say yes or no, to Him. What we think we have or own is not ours. Hence we return them to the rightful Owner. We follow. Lightly and willingly. No second thought is necessary.

My father passed away in 1995. His legacies live on, through those whose life his had touched. He lives in the heart of those who love him.

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