Saturday, February 27, 2010

Embracing Abundance

Dear readers, you might not know that it was my lovely husband who was the start of NilsenLife - way back in 2005. He is my most faithful editor, and an incredible sounding board for my crazy ideas.  Today I invited him to guest-post, on a topic that is near & dear to both of us.  I give you... The Dad of NilsenLife!

Yesterday I spotted this simple Facebook update: givers never lack.

I'm quite certain that there is no such thing as an unwitting conspiracy (which was my immediate facebook response to that update), and upon reflection what happened will need to be chalked up as synchronicity.
This gets a little complicated, so bear with me in piecing it all together, but on Thursday I listened to an interview with William Hurt. The particular thought that stayed with me was a tangent off the main theme but the quote I loved was that his mother's grandfather 'had a reputation for poverty and for hospitality.'

Last summer a sermon opened my mind to a radically simple insight on the Bible's miracle of the loaves and fishes: The real miracle is a changed perspective. The miracle was introduced through Parker J. Palmer's quote: “in a universe of abundance, acts of generosity and community become not only possible but fruitful as well.”

Embracing abundance is central to Nilsen Life -albeit something we struggle with- but really, once you start looking, encouragement is found everywhere:
In January, the world was entirely absorbed by the earthquake in Haiti.  Give it a couple of weeks - the cynic in me speculated - and this will all blow over. People will start thinking about all the other worthy causes of charity that are missing out because the Haitians are 'taking the limelight.'

Two weeks later, with my cynical prediction about to come true, I heard this incredible story about the Port-au-Prince restaurant co-owner Gilbert Bailly's response to the disaster and the fact that his upscale restaurant was sitting on a big inventory of foodstuffs: instead of losing the food, we said let's cook the food and give it away to people that need it. And then two days after, we were running out of diesel, running out of gas, running out of food. We had people that had businesses who started to bring food to us. And we are doing that since.
I mentioned this story to Kirsten as I arrived home that night, but in all the excitement, and children, and supper, and bed time, the information all-to-predictably slipped through the cracks...

So it's with some amazement I hear Kirsten return home last week telling me about an inspiring near identical story from another radio program, where the other co-owner of the same restaurant, Muncheez, elaborated on how the food is made available: Well, you know, something funny, every other day when we think we’re going to run out of food, somebody comes by and drop a couple bags of rice.  Somebody would come by and drop a couple cases of spaghetti.  It just happens like that.

After thinking all this through at the end of a tough week, I meant to publish this last night. But I lacked the "relevance angle", and I wasn't able to wrap it up before falling asleep.
Waking up this morning to the news of a massive earthquake in Chile coming in over the wire, I am reminded yet again of the imperative to live with a sense of abundance - of an ability to share and to give - not a sense of scarcity and its consequent fear.


Cheryl said...

Inspiring! Well done, Torbjorn!

Jen C said...

Building a community rewards in dividends.

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