Photo via Flickr user Chris JL
There is an ancient ceramic dish that sits in the Aga Khan Museum attributed to Samanid Iran. The color and decoration are vibrant and refined for its time, and the inscription reads:
Generosity is a disposition of the dwellers of Paradise.
In our world, at times, there seems to be a powerful centripetal force pulling us toward selfishness and self-centeredness as the status quo. What would it look like to break free of that current and stand with the posturing of generosity? How would that daily choice change our eyes, ears, hearts and lives? I think it may be worth some reflection. True generosity as a prayer practice has the power to transform our scarcity mindset to one of abundance. What is holding us back from seeing, claiming, celebrating, sharing and growing that abundance? If we can embody abundance and live generously, can we know paradise in this time and place?
Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.
The overwhelming, unconditional, overflowing love I share with my young son has helped me live with lenses of abundance. There are moments in my life when I say to him, “Heaven. This is heaven.” When he gives me an unexpected, wildly affectionate and precious snuggle. Sitting on a still lake in a kayak while the sun sets, with my spouse and son behind me, my son reaching out to touch my back now and again as I paddle. “Heaven.” I do not say this flippantly. I said it intentionally, very much awake to and appreciative of the purity of the moment.
The other day, for the first time, when we took a break to snuggle on the couch together his little voice said, “Heaven.” “Yes, honey,” I agreed. “Heaven.” His mimicking encourages me to be even more intentional with my language, verbal and otherwise. Fostering lenses of faith, growing a heart of generosity is work I am happy to share with him.
I let the generosity of these moments alter me and flow into other moments of my life. Recognizing glimpses of heaven, calling out paradise here and now, seeing God the Creator, feeling the love of God here on earth can indeed change our disposition. We can become a generous people, a people dwelling in paradise.