short-handled shovel and began filling a bucket with ashes. We worked side by side in silence for some time. I was confused by his behavior: no preaching, no advice, no criticism or pressure to attend his church. Just a man willing to pitch in and give me a hand. Within a couple of weeks I visited his church, soon acquired a job as its janitor, wore clothes donated by members, and occasionally worked a day on his family farm in Gettysburg. He was the kind of person I wanted for a father. He and his wife had a daughter, and I became for him the son he didn't have. He was the kind of caring, manly, wise man I wanted to be but didn't yet believe I could become. The possible person he saw inside of me I could not yet see.
He was the kind of person I wanted for a father. whole works. A Southern Baptist boy, I dismissed his invitation to visit his church. Several days later, while I was in the basement patching a hole in a coal-burning furnace and removing ashes, Reverend Bradley Thomas Gaver returned, carrying two baked chickens. Enquiring about the young man he had spoken with previously, he came down the outside basement steps and, without saying more than a "good morning," removed his coat, rolled up his sleeves, grabbed a
Lesson 3: Treating others with kindness lets them know they matter. The wounded of the world, which I believe includes all of us, can often be healed by acts of kindness rather than mere words and well-intentioned advice. What invites us to believe we can change is not what people
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