"Do you want to go on a walk with me and Shakira?"
Cathy's question irritated me. I didn't want to take the dog for a walk--there wasn't enough time. I have to be at the food pantry in a half hour, and I have to do my daily tai chi practice and take a shower.
But what really irritated me was that Cathy should have known better than to ask me that. She knows what my morning routine is--she knew that I had to work at the food pantry; she knows that tai chi is an integral part of my contemplative life. And she surely must have been able to smell me.
But then I remembered an article I read on Science Daily the other day that proposed a new--and simple--model for predicting when people would feel generous and when they wouldn't. According to the researchers, when you feel that another person's needs are more important than your own, you'll be more generous.
I wasn't feeling generous toward Cathy. My need to practice tai chi was more important than her need to spend time with me.
Perhaps this is what it means to be meek--to recognize that other people's needs are more important than your own. Science tells us that when we do that, we will be generous. And generosity is one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit.
After putting my desires aside--I will practice my tai chi later--I realized that Cathy wanted to spend time with me. For some reason, after 20 years of marriage, she still enjoys my company. Her request wasn't an irritation; it was a gift.
"Why not? Go make an announcement," I said.
Cathy smiled, grabbed the dog's leash, and told Shakira the good news. Despite her arthritis and canine degenerative myelopathy, our 13-year-old Siberian husky chased her tail, reminding us that she was taking us on a walk.
When we are generous, we will see that everything is a gift. We will truly inherit that land.