December 2009

Season of Giving

In this season of giving, I wanted to offer some thoughts about generosity.

It has always struck me that no other word captures quite the same thing. Of course, the dictionary has synonyms, but—with a couple of exceptions, like “openheartedness”—most of them suggest the magnitude of resources shared, rather than the spirit in which they are offered.

As you know, we’ve been incredibly fortunate these past two years to have the financial support of extraordinary people who have chosen to help us realize the dreams we have for this institution. Their generosity has made, and continues to make, a profound impact on our ability to fulfill our mission. We are indebted to them, not only because of what they have given, but why: they have aligned themselves with our patients, their families, our students, and our communities—giving to us because they recognize, and believe in, the sincerity of our efforts to serve others.

Generosity in that deeper sense transcends material things. It’s within everyone’s reach, regardless of means. You see examples across our Medical Center, every single day, in random acts of kindness. People going out of their way to solve someone else’s problem. Taking the time to listen. Offering a hand without waiting to be asked.

This time of year, when so much attention gets paid to ribbons and wrapping paper, is a good time to remind ourselves that generosity is above all a way of being.