For years I have collected several thousand of these essays, poems, thoughts, etc. Each time he writes he has me read it to him and we discuss it. I admit this is a guilty pleasure. I have a more solid understanding of the foundations of my beliefs than I ever could have had without these read and discuss times. Life has never been too busy to miss a few minutes of "dad time".
A recent essay was a reminder of how kindness softens situations and people and our own hearts. The tone of our voices is as important as the words we say and taking meanness out communications shows that we have a gentle heart. Anger and ugliness and discontent finds its way out of hearts into the tone of our voices. It almost can't help itself. If it is there, it is going to come out. But a kind and soft heart comes out as kindness and with a softening effect on others around us.
Reading this essay recently brought an experience to mind where my dad demonstrated this inward softness of heart in his outward reaction. Some few years ago my father had an infection that almost cost him his legs and his life. The infection was bad enough it was causing violent spasms in his body. The infection very nearly took his life. His legs were almost unusable and he could barely stand, let alone walk.
I was working far away and couldn't help immediately but my mother convinced him to go to the hospital in Murray. My own father drove her to the hospital when his pain was unbearable. He pulled up at the door and walked my handicapped mother to the emergency room of the hospital and got her seated and then went and parked the car and fought his own way back to the emergency room. On the way he spotted a young mother who was trying to carry bags and children in and was obviously frazzled. My own, extremely weak and sick dad, carried her bag in for her, as my mom relates. She wanted to smack him in the head but loved him more for it instead.
The kindness in his heart almost couldn't help but come out.
Thanks dad - for all the lessons taught, both written and lived.