The Monday after Hurricane Ian made landfall on the west coast of Florida, I was back in my office playing catch up from the few days that were missed from power outages and cleaning up. While working through the emails burning a hole in my inbox, our marketing director stopped by to ensure we had everything we needed.
As we talked about the state of our city, the fallen trees, and the devastation in South West Florida (our prayers continue to be with them). The simple subject of my pool came up, and we don’t have a screen, so you can imagine the number of leaves and debris in it. My marketing director quickly offered me her net that would allow me to tackle the project more efficiently and easily than the tools I had been working with. My net was a skimmer; hers was meant to get as much from the bottom as the aluminum pole could handle. So the next day, she dropped it by my office.
What I thought would be an all-day project allowed me to breeze through in under an hour.
Yes, I could have gone to the store and bought my own net (which I may still do), or I could have left the mess for my pool service company to deal with. But that’s the beauty of simple generosity; it cuts through the layers and benefits more than can be seen.
For example, her simple act kept me from having to go out and purchase a net which seemed to be one more task in a very hectic week. The time saved by doing a job with the proper tool allowed me to hang out with my son, who had a birthday that week. It allowed our pool service company, which was already overloaded, to spend less time on my pool and work on others who were in greater need or physically unable. It must have been quite a sight, me sitting in my truck, staring at a pool net with gratitude and realizing the ripple effect. I might have even heard an audible voice from above say, “the right tool for the right job.”
As I reflected on this, I realized that this was about the simplicity of the net and the benefit of generosity that comes from true community.
This is not just merely existing around people. But instead, be close enough to see the person in front of you, hear their needs, and then act with the appropriate measures. It’s the optics that are provided by proximity and empathy lived out simultaneously. I’m not saying that generosity from afar is bad (giving to random people on gofundme), but it’s different when you cover the needs of people known to you; the service is more exact. It’s the act of caring for our communities by looking at our neighbors first.
Now I’m sure that if you asked our marketing director her thoughts on the net, she would probably confirm that the action didn’t even show up on her radar because that’s the person she is. But it meant a lot to me. Through this season of celebration, as we run into and dine with family and friends, we will see some pools that need to be cleaned in other’s lives. They may not have the proper tools to do the job, but maybe you do.