There is a kindness in defeat which isn’t often seen in victory. There is a humanity in failure, charity in the sense of connection when great things are attempted. And also when things are stolen from us, or people lost.
Putting aside my politics or who I’ll vote for, two images that remain with me from last weeks Democratic National Convention are the image of Bernie Sanders, and the image of Mr. Khan, the Muslim father whose son was killed stopping a suicide bomber.
During Hillary Clinton’s acceptance speech there were brief shots of Bernie Sanders sitting silently, red faced, emotions churning under the surface; an old man whose moment in the sun was stolen from him, watching his life and destiny come to a close. Instead of protesting, his allows these things to slip by in service to a greater purpose. That is sometimes the measure of a man. If he were a character in a story, he would be a memorable character. The image of Mr Khan, the Muslim father whose soldier son was killed protecting his platoon from a suicide bomber, a good death, expressing his ferocious grief and pride, touching our admiration and compassion.
They’re not asking for our charity or sympathy, but their images of strength inspire in some of us a desire to be that generous and strong ourselves. There is that in the image of strength in the midst of tragedy that has the power to bring out generosity and strength in us.