Our young man admires this old accountant, who does his sums. The young man carries a burden. His father was labeled a coward for opposing his country’s entrance into World War II. He spoke out against war, and refused to fight. He was sent to Europe with the Red Cross, but his father never overcame the label, coward. He loved his father, but knew the burden carrying his father’s name. The old man had been a POW, so he assumed the old accountant despised his father, like so many of his countrymen.
The accountant says, “I knew your father.” Our young man asked, “what was he like?”
“Your father and I had very different lives. We were on opposite sides very often. But he did Something I’ve never forgotten, something I take with me even today. Do you know what he did?” The young man didn’t answer, afraid to ask. “Your father changed his mind.”
The old man continued. “Your father was a hero. He had the courage to admit he was wrong, and to change.”
As I read my little story, I think of our leaders who are criticized for flip-flopping, and evade any question that involves admitting a mistake. I also think of so many saints who had the courage when they were wrong to admit it and move forward. Peter denied, Saul persecuted, and St. Joan recanted her visions, just to name a few. As my old accountant “our past mistakes are not our burden, it’s the present that needs our full attention.”
P.S.: Today is the last in the series of the old accountant. I hope you have enjoyed them. Please comment if you’d like him to reappear in the future. W.
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