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Kindness: A choice from the heart

kindness-random-1.JPGJohn earned his daily bread repairing TVs and installing antennas in the small Missouri town of Dixon, population 1,200, near Fort Leonard Wood. His most outstanding characteristics were competency, dedication, caring and generosity. He was also known for his leadership, loquaciousness and communicative nature. His in-depth knowledge and understanding of spirituality endeared him to this Methodist Pastor.

On a quiet afternoon we sat in his office and workshop discussing many issues of the town, community, and nations. During this exchange he stated an idea that still resonates with me and to which I can still say “Amen.” Looking me in the eyes, he displayed his understanding of the teaching of religious leaders as he spoke.

“Pastor Charles,” he said, “I believe the teachings of Jesus can be summarized in one brief sentence: “Be kind to each other.'”

That pronouncement found a place in my mind. After all these years, I remember that declaration as though it was yesterday. Raised in a Catholic home and educated in Catholic schools, John understood the basics of spirituality. His was demonstrated in generosity and in the practice of this tenet of faith. Regularly, he donated money to the Methodist Church to alleviate the suffering of community families. He performed and lived up to his beliefs.

Kindness is an admired and expected virtue. It is our wish that we are treated with kindness and that we are kind to those we disagree with on issues. Kindness is often neglected when a conversation turns to politics. The majority of times, acting kindly requires discipline and is an act of the will.

We live in a community where kind acts and works address the grief of families where their spouse or parent is deployed. Kindness is expressed by performing such tasks as cleaning the house gutters, mowing the lawns, or raking leaves. Our plan is to be gracious to the children of a deployed neighbor by taking them to McDonald’s (mom too) for a treat.

As residents of Clarksville, our challenge is to be kind this week (and every day/week) with words and deeds of encouragement. Lets make this narrative interactive by completing the following: “Resolve to be kind on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday by doing (insert your choice of random acts of kindness here).

Rev. Charles Moreland
Rev. Charles Moreland
Rev. Charles Moreland, retired, has lived in Clarksville for seven years and holds great pride in his adopted city and its people. His one objection in Tennessee is the Hall law of taxes on dividends and savings. Charles served in the U.S. Army Chaplaincy from 1966-1986, retiring to serve as a United Methodist pastor near Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. He serves on the Boards of Directors for the ARP, Roxy Theater and MCDP. Though retired, he is a regular speaker at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship. His five grandchildren, ages two to thirteen years, live in Evansville, Indiana. He is a veteran of the Vietnam War and served in Germany and Korea while on active duty.

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