Grandpa had the Kindest Heart of any individual I have ever met.
Everyone needs to find inspiration in order to excel in this life and to find happiness. Your inspiration may come from a family member, a sports hero, a movie star or someone you have known or worked with. My greatest inspiration in life came from my grandfather.
Grandpa was never a wealthy gentleman. He never owned his own home and he drove the same old burgundy Pontiac throughout his years on this earth with me. It was a 1940’s Pontiac Coup and every time I climbed into it, I took a deep breath and smelled that wonderful new car scent. He usually drove it when he came from Ottumwa to our house. The rest of the time he took a city bus to save the car from excessive wear.
Simple Acts of Kindness
Everyone who met him remarked on what a wonderful human being he was. I remember how proud it made me feel. He was a gentle man who always found time to play with my brother and me. You rarely saw him without his suit, hat, and that old pipe in his mouth. The picture I have posted is one of my first watercolor paintings (I wasn’t very good at first). He was sitting on my bike on the patio of our old home with the nursing home next door in the background. This is how I remember him; always doing something fun with us.
He taught me to believe in Guardian Angels by tossing coins on the ground as I spun around on the merry-go-round at the playground. He waited until my back was turned before tossing a handful of coins on the ground. When I noticed them he would tell me that the Guardian Angels were tossing the coins down for me. I eagerly picked them up and wondered why the angels had picked that particular place to shower me with gifts.
One of my fondest memories of him is of a moment in the 1960’s that forever changed the way I view the world. The family was all together at Grandpa and Grandma’s apartment in Ottumwa for a holiday meal. When we had finished and the ladies were in the kitchen cleaning up, Grandpa turned on the television.
The news was on and they were talking about the Boston Strangler. I remember Grandpa was sitting in his favorite rocking chair. He rocked gently as he puffed on his pipe. I was sitting across the room on the sofa.
Everyone had a comment to make about this horrible man who had killed so many people. I was a teenager and the story frightened me. I sat silent as I listened to the other adults in the room talking about what kind of animal had committed such horrible crimes.
The room became silent as my grandfather spoke one short sentence.
“Something terrible must have happened to that young man when he was a child to have made him do those horrible things!”
Compassion for Others
I was a teenager that day and I struggled with his words. How could he feel compassion for a criminal who had taken so many lives? Why did his comment shake me to my very core? I couldn’t stop thinking about what he said. I thought about it all the way home that evening and the next day I awoke from a dream about a little boy who had been abused.
Were the two things related? Could my grandfather be right? Did something terrible happen to that young man to spur him to commit the murders of so many women?
That simple sentence from the kindest person I have ever met changed me forever. I have learned compassion for those who are less fortunate. I stop to consider why an individual may have been unkind before I make any decision to react to their abusive comments.
Find Your Inspiration
He is the inspiration behind my writing and how I live my life. That one simple sentence forever changed my view of others. When we learn to react through the love in our hearts, we will create a society that can never be overthrown. Make a simple vow today to enter 2014 with a kinder and more generous heart. You will be amazed at the remarkable influence it will have in your life.