This I Believe

Brandon - State College, Pennsylvania
Entered on September 25, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30

I believe in generosity. While taking a routine run through State College’s vast Tudek Park, my mind opened to the notion of generosity. I locked eyes with passing community neighbors. Their faces indicated a state of peace. They offered natural smiles and pleasantries in a way that can only be done when one feels secure. My lungs filled with clean air. My ears rested as calm, quiet, white noise overcame them. My mind was free to reflect on the day, solve life’s problems, laugh about the ridiculous or dream about the impossible. Although the park was occupied, I was contently alone. My mind was cleansed and my body was put into balance. What allowed me to do so?…..generosity.

I don’t have a large yard, yet I do have an 18 month old who loves….no…needs….to stretch her legs. That park allows me to satisfy her seemingly unquenchable thirst for play. I cannot quantify the number of times my wife and I have expressed thanks for having Tudek Park at our finger tips. How did we get so lucky to have so many acres to access for play, exercise, and shaping memories?….generosity.

People being healthy….others fighting the impartial onsets of age….some walking hand in hand with a loved one…..others holding intimate conversations……some finding solitude…..others sharing valuable moments with their children…..and many making sure their pet’s life is a happy one…….all possible because of generosity.

I don’t know the details or history behind how the Tudek family decided to devote so much valuable land to the community. Maybe there was some personal gain in doing so. Maybe the act was not as selfless as I imagine. I guess I don’t really need to know….because in my mind and in my reality; the land’s donation was an absolute act of generosity. How many lives will be impacted by that park? How many feet will walk its paths? How many souls will find comfort within its borders?

Until a few days ago, like most others, I saw the park as a material fixture. It was a place….a destination…a resource. My perspective has changed. The park is symbol and testament to the notion of generosity. For that I say thank you to the Tudek family.

As a people, we must reflect on how the generosity of others has impacted our lives for the better. We must keep those reflections at the forefront of our mind when presented with such an opportunity. We are all of varying means and abilities. I know that I will never be able to donate such a valuable resource to anyone. Yet ones generosity cannot be limited to appraisals. It is based on impact, meaning, sacrifice, and the good it perpetuates.

I guess it’s appropriate that this essay was submitted a few weeks before the pledge drive. I think most listeners can attest to the value of public radio. How many hours have been invested in the programming? How much valuable information have you gathered? How many conversations did you participate in because you were informed of the issue? How does this happen… the generosity of listeners like you.