July 5, 2011
Summer affords me extra time for reflection, which can be both therapeutic and totally overwhelming for me. I look up close at the parts of my life that need organization, discipline, and well, to be spruced up. With any close examination of the self comes cringing at what is made visible. In any event, it's been becoming increasingly clear to me that as a single person, the virtue of generosity is one that I need to particularly strengthen. (This is not to say that single people are not generous -- it is truly a pointed commentary on myself at this moment in my life, and I happen to be single).
As Christians we're called to be generous with our time, talent, and treasure. I'd like to think I have the talent portion covered, in that I try to exhaust myself in my vocation as a teacher both inside and outside of the classroom, and well beyond any boundaries set by the school calendar. Of course there is always room to improve in that area, but for now, I'm going to table the "talent" portion of this venture.
Generosity with time. In order to be more generous with my time, I need to be disciplined with the use of my time. This means that first and foremost, I must stick to a prayer schedule. While of course this schedule must be flexible to meet the demands of the present moment, it also should be rigorously adhered to. Giving time to God seems like the first logical step in the process. But if I think seriously about my life on any given day, I could gain back significant time if I monitored how long I spend perusing the internet or flipping through channels on the tube. Even if I tell myself it will only be for a moment, I inevitably lose precious moments that could be better used in the service of my vocation, my family, or my friends. It's quite simple, and demands my full attention and will. Purposeful internet use and leisure time involving the television is something I'd like to incorporate into my daily schedule.
Generosity with treasure. Well, I always joke about working as a teacher and that while we don't get paid in monetary means, I do get paid in other ways. In reality though, if I think about what I'm called to spend my money on (and who it should be spent on), I could easily cringe at careless spending on myself that could be better used (and even better used for things that I actually need rather than want). In an effort to kick this generosity into gear, I've decided to take a pledge, and I ask my sisters to hold me accountable. As of today, July 5, 2011, I will not buy myself clothing or accessories for one full calendar year. (I realize moms who have children are used to such sacrifices and might laugh at this!) Now, there are some notable exceptions that are necessities: I am in desperate need of running sneakers, socks of all sorts, and in the fall I will need to replace some worn out shoes. But, I am not in need of clothing for work or for leisure. I realize that for someone who likes to shop, likes to look fashionable, and works in an environment in which my image is (unfortunately) part of the way into keeping students interested, this is going to be challenging. But in reality, it's absolutely necessary in order for me to be more generous with my money. I'm really excited about the challenge and will be prayerful about what it will do for myself and for others. Thanks in advance for your encouragement, and for pointing out when I've got to sew back on a button or fix a hem!