Honor to Serve

I would like to be a kinder person. It’s not that I’m deliberately unkind, but I am not always as willing as some of the truly good folks I see around me (one of whom I live with), to go that extra mile for others.

Our lives are just so busy with constant demands on our time and so many trade offs required just to get through the day. It becomes easier to just put on blinders and focus on the next task than to recognize how a simple act of kindness can make all the difference to someone struggling just as much as I am.

It could be worse. I don’t think they’re going to throw me totally out of the Minnesota Nice club. After all, it’s not as though I trip old ladies, foreclose on widows, or tie damsels to the railroad tracks. But I know I can do better and I truly cherish those folks in my life who’ve got the “kindness thing” locked in. And today I was reminded of what that looks like when we went to Trish Mahoney’s swearing-in ceremony. She is our new Ambassador to Benin.

Trish and I worked together three times. She was my deputy twice. And I can think of no one I’d rather see in a leadership role serving our nation. Not just because she is smart and capable and thoughtful. And not just because her judgment is sound and her moral compass true — though all those things are true. It is because she tempers all of that with kindness and empathy and concern for those she leads.

To me, those are qualities that make leaders stand out. And, when they are coupled with a vision in which human dignity is cherished, in which human rights are fought for, and in which right and wrong still have meaning, then our nation is in good hands. With Trish as one of our nation’s senior leaders we are in good hands. I’ll sleep better tonight knowing she has accepted the task ahead of her.

So today at least I had good reason to pause in worrying about the next task. Instead, I joined a wonderful group of friends and colleagues as we focused our thoughts and our energies on celebrating Trish’s success.

Tomorrow I’ll try to remember that kindness counts and let it guide my path. Today, however, was a celebration of someone who is the embodiment of that message.

Honor to Serve.

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