— Calvin Coolidge
Ten years ago a great woman died. Her life was an example of selfless service to others, especially the poor and ill-used. Her fame was merely a tool she was given to advance her cause, and like many a tool it chafed and left it’s share of calluses, all of which she bore without complaint or retaliation, considering it unworthy of her mission.
A week-end long tribute where so many of those touched by her life could speak of her gifts and her sacrifice, of the ongoing effect and inspiration of her life, and express an awestruck admiration for the deprivations she endured and embraced would have been fitting.
I saw no such tribute last weekend.
August 26, 1910 – September 5, 1997
I am not a Catholic, but I admire her Christian example and the perseverance of her faith. I keep a poem in my office that is often attributed to her because it hung in her Missionaries of Charity building in Calcutta, and I read it often. (The poem was, in fact, written by a man named Kent M. Keith.) It seems especially relevant this week.
People are often unreasonable,
illogical, and self-centered.
Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you
of selfish, ulterior motives.
Be kind anyway.
If you are honest and frank,
people may cheat you.
Be honest and frank anyway.
What you spend years building,
someone could destroy overnight.
If you find serenity and happiness,
they may be jealous.
Be happy anyway.
The good you do today people will
often forget by tomorrow.
Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have,
and it may never be enough.
Give the world the best
you’ve got anyway.
You see, in the final analysis,
it is between you and God.
It was never between you
and them anyway.