As a bagpiper, I play many gigs. Recently I was asked by a funeral director to play at a graveside service for a homeless man. He had no familyor friends, so the service was to be at a pauper’s cemetery in the Kentucky back country.
As I was not familiar with the backwoods, I got lost and, being a typical man, I didn’t stop for directions.
I finally arrived an hour late and saw the funeral guy had evidently gone and the hearse was nowhere in sight. There were only the diggers and crew left and they were eating lunch.
I felt badly and apologized to the men for being late. I went to the side of the grave and looked down and the vault lid was already in place. I didn’t know what else to do, so I started to play.
The workers put down their lunches and began to gather around. I played out my heart and soul for this man with no family and friends. I played like I’ve never played before for this homeless man.
And as I played Amazing Grace, the workers began to weep. They wept, I wept, we all wept together. When I finished I packed up my bagpipes and started for my car. Though my head hung low, my heart was full.
As I opened the door to my car, I heard one of the workers say, “I never seen nothin’ like that before and I’ve been putting in septic tanks for twenty years.”
Apparently I’m still lost… it’s a man thing. (author unknown)
Hold yourself responsible for a higher standard
than anybody else expects of you.
Never excuse yourself.
Henry Ward Beecher
Yeah, it’s a funny story, but as with most things, you can find a deeper meaning in it if you look closer. You never know what will touch someone’s heart if your intentions are honest and honorable. Acting with integrity and determination to do the right thing will many times touch someone’s heart, even in the strangest situations.
The musician’s actions probably caused these workers to do some soul searching and some deep introspection. Whereas, if the musician would have walked up, asked about the burial, found out that he was in the wrong place, and cursed and whined about having to play for a homeless man’s funeral, these workers would have gone home with a totally different mindset.
You never know how your actions will affect someone else. You never know when the smallest act of kindness or honor will set into motion a series of thoughts or events that will eventually change someone’s life for the better. When you consider this, you should realize how important it is for you to live with honor, and include the warrior traits of benevolence, respect, and empathy in your life. Do what’s in your heart, with sincerity of intention, and expect God to take care of the ripples.
A man’s action is only a picture book of his creed.