Among the many interesting personalities here in Kabul is our priest. He is a US Army LTC and a chaplain. He lives just down the hall from me and we speak often in passing, sharing a quick greeting, a smile and a handshake. His Polish accent is thick enough to spread on black bread, and his appearance is of a beardless, hairless, slightly fitter Santa. I have had one or two longer conversations with him and he answered some questions I had on the history of the Apocrypha from a Roman perspective.
It has done my heart good to contemplate how he lives his life. He goes about his business quietly, speaking to all and offering a word of kindness and concern. To me, he is the very image of a village priest. He has certainly inspired me to renew my commitment to spend more of this time away from family in deeper contemplation of the things that are important.
In fact, I begin to wonder what I am waiting for. One does not need to be a priest to attend to ones spirit on a regular basis. Nor are only certain of us destined to achieve a high level of the Beatitudes. He lives the very calling of Christ, not through his sermons, which I am sure are excellent, but through his life, how he treats others and the way in which he approaches living. I am proud to have his acquaintance, though it be very shallow, because I feel better for having known him. I hope this is how I live my life.
Coincidentally, I have read a couple of Louis L’Amour books recently. Nothing high minded, but I had forgotten how much simple wisdom he is able to put into his books. To ride, shoot straight and speak the truth are inherent qualities of a true man. Not that every true man must ride a horse or even own a gun, but that there should be that in him which lets him master a trade, have true courage and a personal sense of honor that defines him. This is the kind of man I want to be, the kind I want to associate with and the kind I want to teach my children to be. Our priest has these qualities. I have been blessed to know many who fit this category. I am married to a supreme example. My heart’s desire is to find a way to spread this sense of humanity, this faith, this character as widely as I am able in the time God gives me. I can think of no higher calling.