THERE’S MORE TO IT — Long before Sir Isaac Newton identified, understood and wrote out the laws of gravity and motion, people were still subject to them. When apples fell from trees, they always landed on the ground, and every action always produced equal and opposite reactions. These laws were already operational even without formal names and descriptions.
I imagine that it wasn’t long after Newton had brought definition to these elements and called them laws, that he started to receive some pushback. The young and rebellious balk at laws after all, “It’s the law you say?… well not for me, ain’t no gravity gonna’ hold me down, I refuse to comply.” Ok, so that probably didn’t happen. It’s just too absurd to think anyone would refuse to obey gravity. You could try all you want, but nothing would change.
So I guess the point here is laws are not always restrictive. In fact it’s these very laws, that when studied and adhered to in the greatest detail, that enable us to achieve great feats like flight, rockets to the moon and brakes on our cars.
There are other laws out there like gravity and motion, which we are subjected to regardless of our opinion or understanding of them. Things even though inexplicable are just as absurd to take a stand against. Some are physically tangible laws, like sowing and reaping. You plant a seed, water it, and it grows, pretty much every time. The more you learn about the process, the more successful your harvests will be. Other laws are less physical, but no less tangible, like the law of generosity. “Give and it will come back to you.” This applies to all generosities – time, gesture, money or affection, it all seems to have a way of coming back to us.
Try this experiment, the next time another car pulls up beside you, smile and wave at them, I bet they’ll smile and wave back. Then, for the next car, frown and give them a single digit gesture. I bet you already know what you’re going to get back. Why is it then, that though generosity is one of those immutable laws that exist regardless of our compliance towards it, we struggle to be compliant towards it? We seem to distrust the principal of it in proportion to the cost of it. It’s easier to give a few empty cans to the sports team than it is to volunteer your time and truck to help them collect it all.
Another experiment, try standing outside the grocery store and give away five-dollar bills to strangers, precious few will take it from you.
We tend to err on both sides of generosity, on the giving and the receiving. It’s like we’re trying to fly in life by refusing to acknowledge the law rather than seeking to understand it.
Personally, I’m investing in my generosity. I intentionally practice smiling all the time, I try to take the time to listen, I give the benefit of doubt to the guy I think has kept his high beams on, and I keep a looser hold on my purse strings. After all it would be absurd to refuse to participate in something that is going to happen anyway.