Tuesday, September 29, 2015
Today I am grateful for respect. Here is the definition. I looked it up. “Respect: a feeling of deep admiration for someone or something, elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements.” I want all people, young or old, who are out there screaming, “. . .he dis-respected me. . .” to learn the correct definition. It’s earned, through actions.
A couple of weeks ago we attended the funeral of a dear friend. The older a person gets, the fewer living friends they have, and fewer people stay for the service. I wasn’t sure we would stay, either, but it turned out most of the others in this group of friends were out of town, so we represented for everyone.
After the service we decide to join the entourage as they went to the cemetery. It seemed like the right thing to do. We pulled into the line with lights and flashers on. . .the last car of about ten. The stream following the hearse twisted and turned down tiny suburban streets, ending up on the main road through town.
Far ahead of me I noticed an older man, looking like he wanted to get into his car which was parked on the street, facing the direction we headed. “Why isn’t that man getting in his car?” I asked my husband. “There is plenty of room for him to get in.”
As we got closer and I could see him clearly, I noticed he had his hands folded low in front of him and his head bowed. . .out of respect for the deceased. As we passed by him, in my rear view mirror, I watched him slightly bow once more, then get into his car. I was greatly affected by this moment which is still vivid in my mind. It was a true “heartprint” moment for me. A pause out of respect. . .for a stranger. . .because they had once lived a life. . . and had now passed from it. Wow. This man is my new hero.
His actions were very, very small. He probably hasn’t even given it a moment’s thought since it happened, yet I believe that this simple act of kindness is exactly what Pope Francis is talking about. Respect. . .even for a stranger. . .just because it’s the right thing to do.