Paula Williams: A commitment of kindness

Dec. 26, 2013 @ 09:55 PM

This period between Christmas and the new year can sometimes be a difficult time for folks.  Some reflect on what they have or don’t have, what they could have done and didn’t do in the past year as 2014 approaches.  It’s an important time to look outward — to see the needs of others around you, to look inward — to consider the blessings of this past year, and to look upward — to see God for who He is and what He desires for your life in the coming year.
In sharp contrast to the usual headlines we read on a daily basis about robberies, murders, and other tragedies, this past Sunday’s High Point Enterprise front page featured a story that I cannot get off my mind.  It was headlined “Big Man On Campus,” and told the story of Ernest Greene who, at 72, has devoted the past eight years of his life to helping teenage quadriplegic Collin Smith graduate from high school and from High Point University. Despite the rigorous physical demands it placed on him and the time commitment it required, Greene selflessly devoted himself to this young man that initially he barely knew. Why? His response was simply he believed that’s what God wanted him to do.
Greene embodies the commandment Jesus called new in John 13:34:  “As I have loved you, that you also love one another.” Was that new and even radical?  Take a look at the extent to which Greene has demonstrated the love of Jesus and you’ll agree that kind of love is indeed radical for our generation or any generation.
Perhaps you and I cannot devote that kind of time to help another individual, but that should not deter us from doing acts of kindness for others. Aesop’s famous quote: “No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” People need to know that there are others who care, others who will listen, others who want to be there for them. Sometimes small acts of kindness make a big difference. Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late.”
So thank you, Mr. Greene, for inspiring us to think outside the box about making a difference in a life — about listening to the still, small voice of God as He speaks to our hearts and having the courage to follow His lead. What a better place our city and our world would be if we all could be just a little more like you.

Paula Gulledge Williams lives in High Point and teaches at Pilot Elementary School in Greensboro. Her columns appear on this page every other Friday. Representations of fact and opinions are solely those of the author.