It is so difficult to be nice…

A true incident about a decade ago triggered the above…

First month in the Catholic Church we had picked out, a retired schoolteacher cornered, berated  and disparaged me. It was especially shocking as, for the life of me, I didn’t know her. I subsequently learned that she had been a colleague of my older brother, also a schoolteacher, and the two have had issues. It was also interesting that this woman was a catechist, someone who teaches the Bible to children.

I touched her shoulder and said words to this effect, “You’re hurting and I’ll pray for you.”

A crowd had gathered by then and my wife, Lisa, gently led me away. Throughout that week, a thousand thoughts and emotions wrecked me.

My prospective godfather (Lisa and I had decided to embrace the Catholic faith and were journeying) suggested that I stay away from the woman. I made clear that, well-meaning though he might have been, perhaps he was mistaken.

Instead of avoiding her, I sought her out and wished upon her my “Peace”. I did that every Sunday I attended church and must admit that it was not at all easy. Especially back then, I managed people in 24 countries, was known as an “aggressive businessman” and did not suffer fools.

Her reactions ranged from cringing away, to glares and then to stiff smiles. Three months later, she broke down, hugged me and apologized. Now, she seeks me out for a hug.

I had turned the other cheek and felt HIS kiss.

Thank you for helping me to be nice 🙂



  1. Dear Eric,

    I went around your blog – read your words!
    They’re not only inspiring but something that touches the cord and makes you think.

    Liked to have found you here.


  2. This is a great message Eric, one which should be shared. it confirms what I get from all your posts and commentary. Your empathy and “niceness” sings in every line which is one of the reasons, in addition to your excellent writing, which keeps me coming back.

    1. He was great teacher, Jane, that old fellow in Jakarta.

      He brought me down a few notches and prepared me for when I lost my business and had to literally get into the trenches.

      I share this with all who lend me their ears. My children are fully aware of what their Daddy has done and is even now prepared to do. By the Grace of God, I think it is rubbing off on them.

      Peace and luv,

  3. Eric, one of the things which I like about your blog (in addtion to your writing) is your “nice” personality which glows through every posting. You have the gift of empathy which I, and I am sure many others enjoy.

    1. Jane dear,

      Your words touch me so.

      I come across some blogs full of dark distraught – people burdened by unhappy childhoods, unshakeable illnesses, broken marriages, lost loved ones, or clinging guilt and anger.

      Better the clown who spreads laughter and joy, I reckon – or perhaps a kind thought or two that provides a fleeting respite – not too much to expect or to give.

      After all, it is His to give. We are mere conduits.

      Luv and hugz, Eric

    1. Padmini,

      Thank you for your visit and kind words.

      Many ask for wealth and power, ignoring these are cuffs that prevent us from reaching out.

      Just for the record, I was managing director of a European MNC and don’t suffer fools or frivolous people.

      But you see how high God brought me, and then made me go down. A long difficult journey that I did not relish. Frankly, I am unimpressed by the values and behaviour of many in the corporate world and public office.

      I rather be a “human doing” than a “human being” – that is my challenge which I confront everyday, and even now. And perhaps a challenge for many too. How else does one live our Faith, if not by living it – I wonder.

      Peace, Eric

      1. Padmini,

        Many would find such a take down, insurmountable, I agree.

        In my case, I attained corporate recognition and business success but have also worked as a hawker and a construction labourer (side-by-side with Indian and Bangladeshi workers) during the mid-1990s before I landed a job as MD – yes, from labourer to MD.

        I don’t mean to bore you but you might want to see who taught me, the Shrewd Businessman > – some lessons for our children, perhaps.

        Peace, Eric

      2. can only say that you have seen many things in life. well, I don’t have children yet..I need to learn a lot of things (or lessons) too..

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