People answer "How are you?" with "I'm good." I find myself apologizing with "Well, I'm not good, but I'm trying to be."
Today, oddly, was something of a test for me. At the Flagship health club this afternoon, I was approached by an old student of mine. "Well, where was the best sermon you heard yesterday?" He knew I had heard his. He wanted an affirmation. And I answered. "Well, I heard many affirmations about yours," I said. "It was a good word."
It wasn't a setting for honest assessment, a critique of a public speech. It was really a plea for commendation. ""How'm I doing, Dad?" The young man has no father in the critical years of his maturity, who could say, "You're okay, son. It was a good word. It opened up the Bible. It gave people a theme, an assurance, of eternity."
Then, another young man, half the age of the first, entered the locker room. "Hi, Arthur. How are you? The sun is shining. It's going to be a lovely evening." We've become friends over several years there. He is African-American. He works out diligently, building a beautiful body. He is loose-limbed and soft-spoken. His name is Christian. He lives up to it. He shines a certain light. He asks nothing. I reminded him how he lights up the room. He smiled shyly, accepting the compliment.
He didn't have to ask for compliment. His quiet demeanor invites them. So humble. So unassuming. From one side of the tracks. No home advantages. Just a great workman. There's a difference.
Such a lesson for me.
Arthur A Rouner, Jr -
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