Virtues alive and well in paradise

Monday January 18, 2016 Written by Published in Virtues in Paradise

This is part two of last week’s column on three virtues that will create real happiness in the New Year, based on a Jewish scripture from the Tanach, or Old Testament.


In Micah 6:6-8, the question is, “With what shall I come before the Lord and bow myself before God on high?” and the answer is, not all one’s earthly goods or one’s first born, but rather, “He has told you, O mortal, what is good: and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice and to love kindness and to walk humbly with your God.”  

I am always on the alert for signs of virtue in daily life here in Paradise, and have already seen touching examples of these three great virtues since 2016 began.

Justice:  The mother of my friend passed away two years ago, and she made several trips back to Fiji to be with her family. Not once did her husband complain of the cost or the time she took away from him and their children here. Not only was he generous and compassionate about the trips; he sent money for the family in Fiji too.

One day recently, as she was massaging a client, she heard a sacred whisper. “Your husband needs to get away.”

Even though they had been saving constantly for a coming event, she looked up the airfare on line for him and their youngest son to fly to New Zealand to see his mother and take a real break. She took out more than $800 and put it on their charge card.  When she went back on line to book the tickets, it was only half that amount for her husband and toddler! Her face shone with joy as she shared a second small miracle – her husband’s favourite team, the Melbourne Storm, will be visiting New Zealand in February and there will even be a fan day for photos and autographs.

“He’s over the moon,” she said, smiling radiantly. And so was she. She was in part motivated by Justice, wanting to give to him as he had given to her. She inspires me to wonder what can I give to my husband?

Kindness: Before our island granddaughter’s fifth birthday, we talked about kindness and generosity. Since she is a Christmas baby, it is hard for other children to watch her opening presents and not get any.

So, this year Papa and I bought a number of small gifts with that in mind. The day before her party, she enthusiastically wrapped and over-taped the presents. During her party, before she even opened her own gifts, she whispered to me, “Mama, let’s make the children happy now!”

“But you haven’t opened your own yet.”

“That’s okay. I want them to be happy first.”  There were exactly the same number of gifts as children. And she was just glowing with happiness over that act of kindness.  It certainly seems more blessed to give than to receive, even for a child.

Humility:  A friend of mine in Rarotonga recently shared with me that she has been selected as Woman of the Month for January.  She was surprised and a bit gobsmacked by this. No less than I was to witness her humility. Not a single time have I visited her that we have not made the rounds of bringing food to a mama or checking on a sick neighbor, or chatting and giving hugs to a grieving friend. To me she deserves recognition as the woman of the decade! Such humility is a rare gem.

Virtues are alive and well in Paradise!

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