Sunday, September 27, 2015
Be Swift to Be Kind: In Memory of a Man I Didn't Know
Bill Tully, when he was Rector of St. Barts, often used this as the final blessing:
Life is short,
And we do not have much time
to gladden the hearts of those who
make the journey with us.
So… be swift to love,
and make haste to be kind.
I always loved this blessing, and when our new interim rector used it, my heart was lifted. But let me just add: it expresses a truth that is both inspiring and terrible.
We often pay lip service to it, but we should remember that life--this life, I mean--is terribly fragile, and that in our modern age we assume risks every day that we don't even think about. But beyond this, our mortal life is contingent. Or as a friend said to me recently, about a man who had died in an accident, "Half an hour ago, he thought he had a future."
We all do.
But my point isn't to fear-monger about death; quite the contrary, it's to remind myself (and any readers who care to read) that we have to live each day to the fullest, and not waste those we have. We don't have infinite time to make amends, we don't have infinite time to put things right, we don't have infinite time to tell the people we love that we love them, and to show that love.
So be swift to love. Make haste to be kind. Forget the tribe you belong to (left-right, reasserted-reappraiser, whatever).
Be swift to love. Make haste to be kind.