noun: generosity

  1. the quality of being kind and generous.

If you’ve read any of these posts, then you already know about my high school buddies J and Alex. The Three Amigos, Caballeros, and Musketeers rolled into one, or three, as the case was. We were always brothers, even if we didn’t always keep in touch. J went off and lived with his grandparents up north, while Alex lived with me for about 5 years. And then we all sort of split and did our own things for a while. Alex stayed in town, while I moved around a bit: Van Nuys, Reseda, Ventura, and Ojai, but finally landing in Orange County, where I’m writing this. We always tried to keep in touch, but this was still the early days for cell phones and well before Facebook. I lost track of Alex completely for about 4 years, and when he finally popped back up on my radar, he was lying in a hospital bed with stage 5 cancer.

I had just been through a divorce and was putting my life back together. I couldn’t help no matter how hard I wanted to. But J never hesitated. Even with his recent move and 5 kids, he never hesitated. Alex slept on his couch, and when the couch no longer suited him, it got moved and a hospital bed went into the living room of his far-too-small apartment. Never once hesitating, J was always thinking about Alex and what his needs were and would be. J’s heart was endless, and I loved him all the more, because I knew that if it was me laying in that bed, he would’ve done the same for me. Because of life and the distance, I only got to see Alex twice before he was gone. Once, we planned a sort of Bon Voyage party on a friend’s boat, and the other time was when several of us from high school descended on J’s apartment with food, drinks, and love enough for everybody. Alex died in J’s arms February 16, 2012 at the terribly young age of 36.

We were all crushed, but Alex’s death took a special toll on J. His marriage fell apart, and his kids got bounced around a bit. For me, even after 6 years, it’s still hard to think about not having Alex around. When I decided to tell you all this story under the heading of Generosity, I asked J how he defined that word, and he told me something I found a bit profound, he said, “Generosity is all about sharing your blessings with others. The more precious something is to you and the more open you are to share it, even when it hurts, is the truest form of generosity.”

Bro, Alex would be proud.

Now, thankfully, most of us will never have to make that choice of opening your heart and your home to hospice your best friend in his final days, but we can all be generous, every day. Generous with our smiles, generous with our laughter, generous with our love, and generous with our time. I pack a lunch for work everyday, and most days I have a beautiful piece of fruit in there. Sometimes, there’s a young man looking for a handout on my drive to work. I don’t think twice about handing over that piece of fruit, because while I can have another when I get home. I know he doesn’t have a home to get home to. Sometimes generosity takes over your world, and sometimes it means the world for you to be generous.

As always, in life, in love and in spirit, keep pushing for that positive forward motion.

~ Bear