Once again I marvel at the fifth chapter of Matthew’s gospel. Today it’s verses 38 to 42 where Jesus says: “When someone strikes you on your right cheek, turn the other one to him as well. If anyone wants to go to law with you over your tunic, hand him your cloak as well….”
Over the past few weeks, I have made three trips to The Deposit Closet, a thrift store in the village of Deposit, NY (really!) not too far from Windsor where I live. I have brought a number of boxes and bags, some full of blankets and afghans from our house, but also a lot of clothing that has been “mine,” much of which we call “hand-me-overs” as someone else has worn it first. That’s the easy part. There are also items that I find it hard to let go of but that I know I do not need. Those are more difficult to give away, but it is time…
I find it interesting that on the drive home from “The Closet” I feel a lightness inside, a freedom in knowing that I am not tied to those possessions and that they will serve others well. More difficult for me is letting go of books (many of which I still hope to read after they have been with me for years). And then there is money. Surprisingly, that has become the easiest thing to give away. I have never had much money (having promised a vow of poverty at age 21). I smile at teenage me who used to be certain to know just how much money was in my bedroom drawer, but then I think of the generosity of my parents and the way we always had what we needed. Every year, usually after a dance recital, I recall starting to get an allowance as a reward for our stellar performance (!!) but sooner or later that habit would disappear and we would be back to just having money when we needed it for something. Now, as then, my needs are taken care of so it becomes easier to make a donation from my monthly “budget” each time a need arises. I don’t know when letting go began to be so easy, but I think it’s likely since centering prayer became my preferred spiritual practice. Essentially, the process and the goal are similar: sit, let go of thoughts and consent to be in God’s presence. So simple, but somehow difficult.
It’s all about letting go. Perhaps, if I continue to do so in small ways, I will be ready when I am called to let go of this life into God…and that will be the best reward of all for the practice of loving generosity!