My husband, Leland Holder. Where do I begin? There is so much I could say about the man I've known for 4 1/2 years and been married to for 1 1/2 years, but this is about his generous and giving spirit.
And a few life lessons.
Leland is known for giving his time and talents as a professional photographer, here and abroad; on several occasions, traveling to Eastern Europe and his heart's connection--the people of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, and the Evangelical Church of Capljina. He has also been known to give his last dollars to people who have asked him for financial assistance.
Lesson 1: People have taken advantage of his giving nature, and that has hurt, but not anymore. Not on my watch.
He gives easily and without a thought to what is in it for him. It is who Leland is, at his core--generous.
I have been praying for some time that God will return to him what he has given, multiplied many times over. I seriously don't know anyone who deserves this more. I believe I am seeing the beginnings of that prayer being answered, and I am grateful beyond words, but it has been quite a test of endurance to run the race of faith and not grow weary.
Lesson 2: Sometimes, you feel like you've been in the waiting room so long that you consider changing your address.
Lesson 3: Sometimes, however, an act of generosity will come back to you surprisingly fast.
Recently, we were at the farmer's market in Buckhead. Leland was in line for a cup of coffee; organic something or other, from some remote region of the planet, no doubt grown by some magical people, which of course would justify the horrendous price. To me, it's just another cup of crack. But that's beside the point.
The person in front of Leland was a young mother with her baby in a stroller. She had ordered a cup of coffee, but was surprised to find out that the vendor only accepted cash. Since she couldn't use her debit card, she started to turn away when Leland told the vendor, I'll buy her coffee. Two cups, please.
The young woman told him he didn't need to do that, but in his typical fashion, he insisted. He could not let her just walk away, empty handed. The vendor was so impressed, he said to Leland, That's really nice of you, paying it forward. Your cup is on me.
I can't tell you how that small gift encouraged both of us. It was as though God was saying, Don't give up, I have heard you. Stay strong.
Lesson 4: I know, it was just a cup of coffee. But maybe God speaks in the ordinary. I think so.