The Creative Power of Kindness
Too often we feel alone. Many times however
someone comes forward to bridge this loneliness.
There is this beautiful story of an overworked
nurse who escorted a tired young man to her
patient's bedside. Leaning over and speaking
loudly to this elderly man, she said, 'your
son is here!'
The sick man could only slightly flicker
his eyes. He must have understood because
a contented smile appeared on his face. Thorough
out the night, the young man sat there, holding
the old man's hand and whispering words of
comfort. By the morning, the patient had
When the nurse stepped over to the young
man's side to offer sympathy, he interrupted
her and asked "Who is this man?"
The startled nurse replied, "I thought
he was your father!" "No, I have
never seen this man before! He is not my
father!" "Then why did you stay?"
And the astounding answer: "I realized
he needed a son and his son was not here.
And so I stayed. He needed me."
An act of kindness that changed an old man's
last minutes of life. The power of kindness.
There is a very dramatic story in the Gospel
of Saint John, chapter 8. It speaks of the
woman caught in adultery. A group of very
excited holy men brought this woman in front
of Jesus! Justice was on their side. The
Law of Moses was harsh but clear. Anyone
caught in adultery should be stoned to death.
Jesus however, as usual, reacts in a strange
way. He stoops down and starts writing something
on the ground! Obviously he wanted to deflect
the eyes and the attention of these excited
self righteous men from this unfortunate
woman. A meeting, as Saint Augustine would
put it, between 'miseria' misery and 'misericordia'
An amazing act of kindness. By simply doing
this gesture of stooping down and writing,
he was conveying a message to this woman.
You are more important to me than anything
that you may have done.
Jesus never in his life tried to add burdens
to the already burdened. He never did things
to people that make it more difficult. It
was said of Jesus that he never broke a bruised
reed and he never quenched a smoldering flax.
Kindness is one of the most creative and
powerful things that any of us can do for
another human being. I remember hearing this
story of a boy who grew in a small town where
everybody knew each other. Since he was born
out of wedlock and his father had disappeared
before he was born, he felt that people were
always chitchating behind his back. Many
times his companions used the 'b' word to
make fun of him!
He himself, not knowing who his father was,
he led a rather miserable life. One day he
was in church, alone, sitting at the back
when suddenly he felt a hand on my shoulder.
It was the new pastor looking down at him
with his piercing eyes. He must have heard
his story because he asked him, 'whose boy
are you, son? Who is your daddy?'
"That was the question that had haunted
me all my life and I did not know what to
say. Tears came to my eyes, my chin began
to quiver. I felt like I was coming to the
very end of everything. But before I could
say any words, a great smile came over the
old priest's face and he said, 'Wait a minute!
You don't have to tell me. Why, of course!
I already know. You are the son of God. God
is your Daddy. Boy, you have a great heritage.
I want you to go out into the world and I
want you to claim it for yourself!'"
As Pascal once said, kind words do not cost
much. Yet they accomplish much. They can
change a life. It changed this boy's life.
He was no longer despondent. He had discovered
The Talmud says that there are ten strong
things in the world. Iron is strong but fire
melts it. Fire is strong but water quenches
it. Water is strong but the clouds evaporate
it. Clouds are strong but wind drives them
away. Man is strong but fears cast him down.
Fear is strong but sleep overcomes it. Sleep
is strong yet death is stronger. But loving
kindness survives death.
You see, kindness comes from the heart of
(c) Fr. Pius Sammut, OCD. Permission
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