Thursday, March 11, 2004


I cry at kindness.

Before our Pastor begins his sermon each Sunday, someone from the congregation often will pray. They'll pray for God to help us listen, and to soften our hearts to accept His word. They'll also pray for our Pastor's ability to convey the Lord's teachings.

Occasionally, the youngest daughter my dear friend, Ben, will deliver that prayer. Each time she does, she makes a point to put her hand upon my Pastor's shoulder and offer up a heartfelt request of God to strengthen, embolden and cherish the leader of our small flock. Whenever that happens our Pastor's eyes well up with tears.

I start to cry too.

I cry at kindness.

In truth, there is nothing that can get me blubbering quicker.

I have experienced hardships, I have witnessed horrors, and I have grieved at deep loss. Certainly many people I know would consider me a fairly hardened individual. The term "jaded" might crop up occasionally...deservedly so.

Yet, more than anything else, I choke up at the simplest signs of sincerity.

Last night at church, Amy and I left a little early because Amy wasn't feeling real well. I asked her to wait for a moment while I went to thank Ben who offered his services as an attorney recently to expedite the land sale I've mentioned previously. Ben refused to allow me to pay him, and I wanted very much to tell him how much I appreciated not only his help, but his leadership and love for me and Amy. I barely was able to choke out the words.

Ben understood.

Another friend walked with me out the church door. We hadn't really had a chance to talk all evening and he wanted to see how Amy and I were doing. He asked if we needed anything, and I said simply, "Prayer". He replied something to the effect of "I'm always doing that for you guys, believe me." My eyes welled up instantly.

This is not a new phenomenon. When my parents died I cried as one would expect, but the hardest thing for me to handle was the love and concern I received from friends. I still tear up when I think about the outpouring of affection bestowed upon me during that hard time...and it's been 32 years.

Long ago I came to terms with this somewhat sappy side of my sensibilities.

I've also come to understand it a little more.

You see, I believe these seemingly small signs of benevolence from people are really glaring examples of the Holy Spirit at work.

I cry at kindness.

I cry when I feel the presence of God.

When Simon saw that the Spirit was given at the laying on of the apostles' hands, he offered them money and said, "Give me also this ability so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit."
Peter answered: "May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money!
- Acts 8:18-24