One of the Good Ones
Through an odd set of circumstances this week, I was introduced to a man I would normally never meet. He’s an older gentleman with a great religious fervor. He loves both God and his church, and of that, there can be no doubt.
He is well-educated and holds great knowledge of the Bible. Unfortunately he wields this knowledge like a sword. A mighty and righteous sword - slashing and cutting in the name of religion in his zeal to do what is right for his church. But as you can imagine, sometimes using a sword to explain LOVE can end up being a little hurtful.
As I was processing this introduction, an unrelated set of circumstances put me in contact with a woman I have known and liked for many years. We go to the same church, St. Francis United Methodist. She is an integral part of the church life. I have never known her to say no to any request that has been asked of her (which is why I will not use her name - for her own safety against such requests). For example, usually if she is asked to bring a pie, she will offer to bring two. She always goes above and beyond; that’s just who she is.
Although I’m sure there are times when she’s angry, unhappy, or frustrated, just like anybody else, I’ve never seen it. She exudes a warm, happy calmness. Before retirement, she was a nurse. Maybe that calm cheerfulness helped her be a better nurse, or maybe the fact that that’s her natural demeanor drew her to become a nurse in the first place. I don’t know; this may be one of those chicken/egg things.
Anyway, our church recently started an adoption program. Each college-aged student was “adopted” by a church member. The adults were instructed to send cards, small surprises and most of all to pray for the kids.
My daughter got lucky enough to be adopted by this woman. The lady immediately emailed with a supportive note. This month I think she basically learned to write code for computers so that she could send Madi an electronic gift. Because the system used for delivery was so intricate, several texts went back and forth with questions and explanations. Instead of being frustrated, I could honestly hear the excitement in her texts. The woman was having as much fun, if not more, in giving the gift, as my daughter was in receiving it. And that really says something because Madi was thrilled.
As I pondered her thoughtfulness, I just couldn’t stop smiling. When you watch the news you hear of nothing but violence, or apathy towards the violence, and that doesn’t mention the cheating, lying, scamming, stealing. It's all bad.
But then you come across someone like this woman: calm, cheerful, compassionate, generous, supportive, fun. I have never left her presence without feeling a little bit better. She’s one of the good ones, and she gives you hope and faith that there are more good people out there. In 1839, English author Edward Bulwer-Lytton said, “The pen is mightier than the sword”. I can’t help but think this woman’s got the right idea: love and kindness are much better than the sword.