Generosity is a circular act, you give it to someone and you will receive it from someone else. Let’s push this circularity endlessly!
There is a story that very often pops up on my mind. It comes to visit me spontaneously and subconsciously because she lives within me like a treasure in my memory. I mean, this story is so valuable and so much alive inside of me that I don’t need a conscious action to recall it, but it simply comes in my thoughts carrying a load of energy that any time light up my soul and my spirit.
It is a story that talks about generosity and the marvelous power of Human Connections, and I wonder why I waited so long before sharing it with you my dear reader.
But first of all, we should ask ourselves some questions in order to prepare our inner spirit to welcome the story I am about to tell you. We should make our inner thought pure, and virgin to appreciate the absolute value of generosity without limits. We should get rid of preconceived ideas that in order to be generous there must be a reason or a final reward.
In short, what does generosity mean? How does it show in our lives? We should reflect on ourselves and our capacity to be generous towards others. Do we deserve other people’s generosity? Do other people deserve our generosity?
And what if generosity is one of the biggest power of humanity ? What if we still haven’t understood it?
Generosity can connect people, build friendships, spread happiness, help needy people, save lives, promote progress, and ultimately, it can save the world!
Think about it for a little while and when your inner spirit is ready, keep on reading.
Connecting wires and minds
I am in Big Island (Hawaii), living in a gorgeous villa near Kona and I am having problems with the Internet connection. The doorbell rings and here is the Internet technician: a smiling, tall, white-bearded man, wearing a colorful Hawaiian shirt.
“Hello, my name is Giulia. Thank you for coming to fix the problem”. He is Bob and knows the home and owners very well. The vegetation of the pergola has again tangled the wire and the man works calm and patient to restore the cable. On the ladder he seems to me even taller and giant, but the way he moves and talks gives me the feeling he came out from the fairytale of the Gentle Giant.
We engage in a conversation. The sky shines bright and the air is warm and pleasant. All around is silent and words come out softly and in tune with the atmosphere. While his fingers are working among the leaves to reset the cord, I discover he is from Dallas but came to Hawaii a long time ago, working in the communications field. Somehow the conversation goes on, and by the time he has finished connecting the wi-fi, amazingly enough, also a good connection between us has been created.
Before saying good-bye to me he says: “Giulia, have you ever been to Mauna Kea? On top of this volcano there are telescopes. It takes a few hours to go up there, and you need warm clothes. If you like we could go to this mountain with a couple of friends of mine, Dave and his wife Mariana from Romania. I can also provide you some warm clothes if you don’t have them, and food to share all together”.
“Oh yes, thank you! That is so generous of you and simply awesome”, I answer happily and, honestly, very amazed too.
Mauna Kea (Big Island – Hawaii)
Mauna Kea is one of five volcanoes (13,803 feet) that form the Island of Hawaii and one of the largest volcanos on Earth. Another one is Mauna Loa, an active shield volcano composed almost entirely of fluid lava that flows slowly on its slopes, shaping its profile like a warrior’s shield lying on the ground. When you see it on the horizon you couldn’t realize how high it is. In fact, the gentle slopes don’t give the real perception of its elevation, which is 13,679 ft (4.169 m). It’s very different from the volcanoes I am used to knowing in Italy, that are called stratovolcanoes, or composite volcanoes, and that are very explosive and with a conical shape.
While Bob is driving up the twisty road, he warns us about all the annoying effects we could experience because of the high altitude: stiff neck, nausea, and vertigo. To prevent these unpleasant troubles, but above all to avoid major risks for our health, we need to go up slowly and have a stop halfway to acclimatize. We have a pause at a kind of visitor center where it is possible to consume drinks and food and watch a documentary about the volcano. After about one hour of rest, the four of us are ready to leave again. Bob is a careful driver and a great guide. By the time we arrive at our destination, we know all we need to appreciate that lunar landscape and the work carried on by the Observatories.
When we reach the top of this mountain we have the feeling to be landed on Mars. We look around like alien who traveled millions of light-years to explore the universe and are landed on another planet of another galaxy. In fact, the environment and surface are almost surreal, closer to the planet Mars than to Earth. What an amazing place!
Bob’s generosity took us up to here and, so far, enlarged our knowledge with marvelous explanations and teachings. His noble act reinforces my perception that we cannot be on Earth, and Mauna Kea is not a volcano and neither Mars, maybe it is just Heaven.
We aim to wait for the sunset and have our dinner while we admire the fireball disappearing down at the horizon. Though, it is still quite early and we have enough time to wander around and scout the area. We descend a little to reach a pristine pond. The ground is completely barren and lifeless, while the air is rarefied and each step becomes increasingly tiring. I have the feeling I am getting older and older while I am losing my muscles and strength. It’s really a weird sensation, a kind of destabilizing. It’s hard to get back uphill and the temperature is going down. I can’t wait to reach the car and see the sundown behind the car windows.
We are not the only ones waiting for this show of nature. A few cars are parked next to us and brave photographers with their cameras on tripods are challenging the freezing climate to take the perfect shot. Though, the sky is cloudy and the sun seems to slip down, hidden behind a foggy curtain. We are staring at it silently, begging the clouds to go away. Just a few more seconds and we are going to miss the show. But amazingly enough, when we are just about to lose our hopes, here it is! This yellow and giant ball in front of our eyes miraculously finds a space among the clouds to show us all its incommensurable beauty. Then, we jump out of the car and “click”, we immortalize that instant in eternity!
By the time we decide to come back home, it’s completely dark and there are no lights on the road. Bob drives patiently and carefully, but inside the car the energy is high. We are enthusiastic and absolutely happy. What a day!
Bob turns on the radio and all together we start releasing our excitement singing aloud the ’80s music: Police, Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Alphaville, Simply Minds… These songs put us in ecstasy while Mauna Kea is fading away behind us. We realize that we are all sharing the same musical heritage like a universal language, and now we are no American, Romanian, or Italian, but we are just humans perfectly connected!
All we need are emotions
What is the reason why a person decides to be generous to another unknown person, investing time, money and energies to make him or her have an unforgettable experience? What is the point to give so much through a beautiful selfless gesture? What can be hidden in a such generous heart that seems to beat for the only purpose to nourish a pure soul?
Bob, the Gentle Giant, is catching my thoughts and I can’t help to visualize over and over again his serene face and nice smile when we said good-bye after our trip to Mauna Kea. He was happy and fulfilled as if he had done something to nourish also his spirit, and not only ours.
I sent him an email to heartfelt thank him for the amazing adventure at the volcano and the Observatory, and he takes the chance to invite me for dinner with Dave and Mariana. I am more than happy to join again their company, and I can’t find the words to show enough my gratefulness.
It’s about 4 pm when Bob and friends come to pick me up at my beautiful temporary home in Waimea. This town is located in the Northern part of Big Island, at an elevation of 2,676 feet (816 m) above sea level, and it is just at the transition between the wet and dry sides of the Island. This afternoon we are going toward the rainy area to explore the lush nature enriched by forests, colorful Pacific flowers, and stunning waterfalls, before heading to a local restaurant for dinner.
In my opinion, one of the best ways to discover a new culture and get to know people is sharing food at the table, and this evening the location for this purpose is fantastic: local food, Hawaiian people, jukeboxes and LP albums to decorate the ambient, and live music.
Bob offers dinner and then we spend another hour talking outside the local with the owner of the restaurant. It’s a touching conversation because the topic is the terrible tsunami that struck Hilo Bay in 1946. This man was just a little child and he was playing with his siblings on the beach. With tears in his eyes, he recalls that moment when the ocean began to retreat. He was so scared that run away while all the other children, included his siblings, went just toward the ocean to catch the fishes left on the sand by the retreating wave. They all died overwhelmed by that terrible hell of water.
A very sad story that moved us to tears, so that we decide to go to that beach to remember those children. In that place, there is a monument dedicated to a school that was canceled by that tsunami. A long list of names carved on the marble commemorates all the little students who lost their lives that day.
It is night and the sky above us is a triumph of stars. In my life, I have never seen so many stars and so amazingly big. The milky-way is so bright and dense that I would like to touch it. How many emotions and discoveries today! I am again in debt with Bob for his kindness and generosity. When I will be able to return all this? How can I be enough grateful for what I received?
I am back in Italy and from time to time Bob and I write to each other. Many times I invited him to Italy and I also sent him a welcome book I wrote for my American friends: a kind of guide book to discover my country, besides tips and recommendations for the best things to do. One day he told me: “Oh Giulia, this guide book is so beautiful that you should publish it. Do you mind if I open a website to put it online?”.
In a few days, my work is on the Internet and I never paid to buy the hosting. It is just another gift from Bob! I could share this link with many friends, but also unknown people, gaining many appreciations. That is so beautiful!!!
Bob and I have been having many conversations, but the question he asked me that day at Mauna Kea is one of the more intriguing for me. We were just sitting by the little pond when he said: “Giulia, what do you think about the USA? Do you think that a country can be really democratic when it has so many military bases spread all over the world?”. I answered that I learned from my studies that democracy was born in the USA and I have never questioned it, at least so far.
What a weird question! But also what an intelligent consideration?
I dwelled many times on this topic until the day he reveals to me something very personal via e-mail: “I am a Vietnam veteran. I fought in that war. For many years, after I came back from Vietnam, I sent money to help my friend’s family. I saw him die in front of my eyes. Now that you know that, maybe you won’t write to me anymore”.
“Oh, my dear friend”, I wrote. “How could I ever judge you? You’ve got a noble heart wounded by an ignoble war”.
But what Bob’s eyes have seen? What has his heart suffered? A Gentle Giant and the Vietnam war, they are two so disconnected images for me. Bob seems to give, share, and love with generosity as if he needs to wash away his soul from the cruelty of that human gender who makes war. Human gender he doesn’t belong to.
Bob, where are you?
Bob, a few years have gone by and I have no more news from you. Somehow I lost your contact and the emails I sent you, never got an answer. I can’t even find you on Facebook. Wherever you are, I wish you all the best, my dear friend.
You taught me the value of generosity and the joy of giving without expecting something back. After having met you I learned a new conception of life: if each of us is generous to others, inevitably this generosity will return back to us, like a boomerang we launch to the Universe.
I never had the chance to return your kindness but I became nice and generous towards many other people who have been coming to visit Italy. In each of these people I hosted, showed around, and helped to know my country, I met you again. And I hope that those people whom I have warmly welcomed will meet me again in other people with whom they will be kind and generous.
Somehow this generosity will reach you again, because generosity is a circular act: you give it to someone and you will receive it from someone else.
This is simply a universal law, and if we trust this law, we can keep going this cycle endlessly, for a better world!
Thank you Bob!