I thought this was posted yesterday, but it didn’t stick. Thanks, Steph!
Thursday, September 24, 2015
Today I am grateful for strong, kind, gentle, great men. Great men don’t always know they are great. Sometimes it’s not until many years after they are gone, that people realize just how great they were.
Many great male artists like Van Gogh and Gauguin remained largely unsuccessful until after their death. Now their brilliance hangs in museums everywhere, so that many can enjoy what few can afford. Struggling writers Melville, Poe, Thoreau and Keats, all worried how they’d keep body and soul alive, but their works have become classics taught in schools everywhere. Troubled men? Yes. But also great men.
There have been great political, military, educational leaders who have left their mark on society. When I was a kid, I barely paid attention to Martin Luther King, Jr. I had little clue what a vital individual he would be to my country, the world, my family. Yet his message has not lost momentum throughout the years. . .it’s gained. It needs to keep gaining.
When Abraham Lincoln or Gandhi walked the earth pledging peace and equality, through gentle words and kindness, those living at the time had no idea their messages would shaping our world as much as it has.
Every great man has flaws, just like the rest of us. They make mistakes, use questionable judgement sometimes. They disappoint not only us, but themselves. Greatness doesn’t come in a perfectly wrapped, neatly tied package. But you sure can feel when it’s present, despite the imperfections. And it is present now. Right here on the east coast of the United States of America.
I watched two very short videos of Pope Francis. In one, probably from Cuba, he hopped out of a small car to bless a visibly handicapped boy and the family that surrounded him. In another, from Washington, DC, a small Hispanic girl in braids, with a yellow banner breaks through the barricade and is carried to the Pope-mobile for a hug and a blessing. I bawled. During both videos. When I showed my husband he bawled, too, though he’d never admit it. We recognize kindness, humility and peace when we see it. . .and hope. . .in my opinion it is the key thing missing in our country right now. . .hope! We need it badly and we need it now.
“Please pray for me,” the pope asks someone in the crowd. “Will you pray for me? Do you know my name? My name is Francis. Please pray for me by my name.” Vulnerable. Human. Real.
I’m not catholic. Never was. Never will be. But I am human. And that’s all you need to notice that Pope Francis is strong, kind, gentle and empathetic. He would deny it. . . but I see a great man. . . a great human! We sure could use more of them. Religious or otherwise.