Today’s Word from Deacon Amy…

“Nothing in nature lives for itself. The rivers do not drink their own water; the trees do not eat their own fruit; the sun does not shine on itself and flowers do not spread their fragrance for themselves. Living for others is a rule of nature. We are all born to help each other. No matter how difficult it is…Life is good when you are happy; but much better when others are happy because of you.” – Pope Francis

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about choosing kindness; we don’t always have a choice in what happens to us in life, but we do have a choice about how we react to it. I try to do my best to choose to react with kindness.

Since writing that message, I’ve heard from several people who have become more aware of their own choices, and the opportunities that they have to express kindness toward others. After all, it is not the cashier’s choice to charge us 8 cents for a grocery bag now. Most likely, the call center representative that kept you on hold for 10 minutes really was trying to find a solution for your problem. Choosing to react to these situations with kindness can brighten the day for those that you interact with – and can improve your mood as well! I’ve found that paying a compliment to someone else can make me feel wonderful!

My dad is a Vietnam Veteran. Fifty years after returning home, he is still paying the price, as the effects Agent Orange are now impacting his body. He has recently come to the point where he needs to use a walking stick or a cane to help maintain stability. My mom wanted to find him something that would fit his style – not just a standard “medical” cane. So, she turned to their local community group on social media and asked where she could purchase such a thing. The responses were overwhelming. Several people told her where she could buy a walking stick or cane, but even more people offered to supply one for him.

The most touching response came from a fellow veteran. Nearly two years ago, he finished hand carving a beautiful walking stick with the intent of donating it to a Veteran’s organization. When the pandemic struck, donations were no longer being accepted, and that walking stick found its way to the back of his closet where it has been gathering dust ever since. When he read my mom’s inquiry, he knew that the stick had been waiting for just such a time.

They met up in a local parking lot, and he proudly handed the beautifully carved walking stick to my dad. He was thrilled that it would be used and loved. He was very humble about his gift, simply saying that it was an honor to be able to share. My dad, in turn, handed over one of his challenge coins. They looked into each other’s eyes and shook hands, united by kindness.

Fifty years ago, they were both young men in a terrible situation. Today, they are still paying the price, their bodies and minds deeply affected and hurting. But, despite the pain, both of these men chose kindness. They both chose to move forward with generosity, humility, and care for another.

Let’s keep choosing kindness. Let’s spread the love.
Deacon Amy