From a recent post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog comes this quote – “Kindness is within our power even when fondness is not.” (Henry James)
As I thought about that quote, and contemplated writing something about it; other, similar thoughts came to mind –
Compassion is within our power even when sharing is not
Forgiving is within our power even when forgetting is not
Believing is within our power even when understanding is not
The point of all of this is that we have it within our power to deal with the events and circumstances that life presents even if we cannot change them. The key is being able to accept that we cannot change them and moving on by dealing with life as it is and not as we would like it to be.
I’ve posted here in the past about the amazing stories that have come out of some of the most terrible hate crimes of recent times. I recall one in particular which involved a mass killing in a church. Sometime later, several survivors of that atrocity were interviewed and shared that they had forgiven the shooter and were now praying for his soul. They will never forget, but they had forgiven.
Perhaps the issue for most of us is focusing too much on the part that comes after the “even when” in those sentences. It takes a conscious effort to be kind to someone that we may not “like” or of whom we may not be fond. Having compassion for the plight of someone is possible, even if we cannot imagine or share their situation. It is especially hard to move on to forgiving someone who has wronged us in some way when we cannot get the act out of our minds and forget it.
For many, the final saying above is the hardest because they cannot let go of the need to understand everything and just believe. Yet, at the very core of faith is believing. It is the surrender of the need to understand that frees us to accept God and have faith. That need to understand is man’s ego coming out and the need to try to control things. Faith is admitting that we are not in control and putting our trust in the one who is – God. Faith starts with the little prayer “Not my will, but thy will be done.”
Start by believing even when you don’t understand. I think you’ll find that the rest of those things that are within your power – kindness, compassion, forgiveness and more – will come more naturally. Use your powers today.
It’s going to be a great day.