Perhaps you have heard the saying, “Your kindness will be mistaken for weakness.” Generally it is said by those who do not understand the strength of kindness. I guess they have not been fortunate to know anyone of the quiet conviction and steady resolve that living in kindness can bring. I was fortunate to know one. He was my mentor, my idol, my confidant. He was also my father. Today he would have been ninety- five. And although he left this world far too young, his memory lives on in the hearts he touched.
People who count kindness as weakness, do not understand the effort that is made to be kind. A cousin has conveyed to me again and again how precious my father was and is to him. I never weary of the story of how my father would pick him up and take him away from the adult family members chiding the boy for being different. Of how my father would stand up for him when no one else – not even his parents – would, and how he would console the boy.
I remember being consoled by this man. I remember learning to pray from him; never a word uttered that was not felt. I remember lessons on serving with love, not duty. When complaining about my chores, he would relieve me never saying a word as he took up the task. He led by example.
I remember realizing at a tender age that this man, my father, had fought in a war. And not fully grasping the horrors of what he might have been witness to, I blurted out “Tell me what it was like”. He was silent for a long time and in the silence I felt his depth and the care he took to answer. When he finally spoke about his time in WWII, the glory of war faded from my mind never to return.
Yes, I remember the kindness of this man, the kindness of Life to let me know him and the wisdom to know how absolutely precious was the time we spent together. You cannot turn back time, but you can call forth immortality by contributing to Life and in remembrance .
There is nothing weak in kindness, my friends. It is a courageous note we are fortunate to sing while we breathe. It is a sweetener of the most bitter cup; it is the thread that ties us together when all else fails. The memory of kindness outlasts any sorrow, any grievance, any harm. It is a gift we give ourselves, this strength called kindness.