Frequently people think compassion and love are merely sentimental. No! They are very demanding. If you are going to be compassionate, be prepared for action.
- Archbishop Desmond Tutu
My husband and I were married on December 28, 1996, in New York's Marble Collegiate Church, where my grandfather Norman Vincent Peale preached for decades. Grandpa had died three years earlier (almost to the day), but he was surely with us in the spirit of his love, his hope and his faith.
At our reception, my sister and maid of honor, Rebecca, gave a beautiful toast based on those three ever-constant virtues expressed in 1 Corinthians 13:13, “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love.” I still remember her brilliance in weaving together our marriage, the Christmas season and our family’s steadfast legacy of faith. I believe Grandpa Peale was by Rebecca’s side as she shared her words that evening.
We often hear this verse from First Corinthians at weddings or during the Christmas season, but we can all find a bit of hope, faith and love in our everyday lives if we remain open to them. Not always easy, for sure. But these three virtues are there should we choose to reach for them.
Last evening I heard a story about Albert Lexie, who has worked in a Pittsburgh children’s hospital for more than 30 years as a shoe-shiner. He charges $5 per shine and has given every tip he has ever received to the hospital’s Free Care Fund, which provides services for children whose families can’t afford them. Over his career he has contributed more than $200,000 to the fund.
Yesterday was Mr. Lexie’s day of retirement. The impact he had was clear through the comments of those who know him. The lesson of giving, expecting nothing in return, echoed profoundly. I could not help but think about the faith he had that his giving was going to make a difference in the lives of thousands he would never meet; about the love he had for those in need; and about the hope that “his” hospital would do all it could, the way he did all he could, to help save kids’ lives. This gentleman chose to live simply yet give abundantly, each and every day. A truly inspiring story.
Last weekend, I was purging my children’s art table of “excess.” I found, beneath a pile of who-knows-what, a journal with the word hope on the cover that I had given to my now almost-13-year-old daughter around four years ago. I know I shouldn’t have... but I flipped through the pages.
Only about three pages were written on. One of the pages had this quotation: " 'The realities of faith, hope and love can make every day an exciting adventure.' –Norman Vincent Peale." I’ve never shared this quotation with my daughter, but I believe that somehow her late great-grandfather Peale did. My hope is that she and her two siblings will allow faith, hope and love to be a part of their life adventure, every day.
May faith, hope and love be yours, now and in all the days ahead.
Katheryn (Katie) Allen Berlandi is the seventh of Guideposts cofounders Dr. Norman Vincent Peale and Ruth Stafford Peale’s eight grandchildren. She is a clinical social worker with a private practice focusing on children, adolescents and families, and a consultant for Guideposts and the Guideposts Foundation. Katie lives in a small town in Connecticut with her husband, two daughters and son.