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Virtues in Paradise: The Virtues effect – Making a difference

Saturday 30 September 2023 | Written by Supplied | Published in Opinion, Virtues in Paradise


Virtues in Paradise: The Virtues effect – Making a difference

I have a friend who makes a profound difference in my life. She’s one of my greatest blessings. I’ve been reflecting on what it is about her that causes me to leave her presence more hopeful, happy, and confident -- ready to tackle life with fresh optimism, writes Linda Kavelin-Popov.

It has everything to do with virtues.

She sees me through a lens of virtues, never judging even when I reveal one of my many “teachable moments”, always seeing the best in me. She listens with compassion and understanding. She speaks virtues language, acknowledging me for the good she sees in me. She’s willing to be open and share her own journey as well. We enjoy a good laugh, but tears are acceptable as well.

Do you have a friend like this? Are you a friend like this? Even more important, are you a parent or grandparent with these qualities? The scriptures of the world say that the very fruitage of our lives is in our virtues – our love, patience, service, self-control, and many others.

“To live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” (Ephesians 4)

To live by this high calling, we need to take these holy words to heart. Honestly speaking, they are not only what it means to be a good friend, a good partner, a good person, a good parent; they are the portal to our own wellbeing and mental health.

The awesome truth is that at any time in our lives, we have the God-given free will to choose them.

Recently my husband and I had the honour of being invited to a family meeting here. Afterwards I went up to the papa who chaired it to thank him for his peaceful presence and orderly leadership, running the meeting and overseeing the plan that everyone agreed to. In that role he kept “the unity of the Spirit”.

The Bahai teachings say, “Be ye sincerely kind, not in appearance only. Let each one of God’s loved ones centre his attention on this: to be the Lord’s mercy to man; to be the Lord’s grace. Let him do some good to every person whose path he crosseth, and be of some benefit to him.”

I experience many moments of grace here in paradise. The other day while shopping, I saw a woman I hardly knew. She looked into my eyes with kindness, took the flower from her hair and tucked it behind my ear.

“You wear this today,” she said, after sincerely asking me, “Pe’ea koe” (How are you?) and then told me she liked the “stories” in my column.

Ghandi said, “The fragrance always remains in the hand that gives the rose.”

The fragrance of that moment of grace remained with me all day. I hope it brought joy to her as well. Making a difference can be as simple as one small act of kindness or the loyal support of a friendship sustained over many years. It’s the true fruit of the spirit.