To The Greatest Leader I Knew

This post is dedicated to the greatest leader I've ever met. All the "thank-you's" in the world wouldn't be enough to repay the gifts you gave me...

Every time I saw you speaking with others, no matter what their skin color, age, or nationality, you taught me that eyes see very little compared to the heart.

You taught me that gentle, kind words always prevail over harsh strong actions.

You taught me that if we spend life comparing ourselves with other people, we would lose time to find our self.

You showed me that in the midst of all the madness, by being as still as a mountain, all is well.

Even though English was your second language, you taught me that a second language is worth a fortune in friends.

You taught me the power of looking into people's eyes, how it will make a deeper connection with them, and will reveal a piece of magic!

You taught me that something as simple as to touch someone's arm, a hug or give a gentle smile can save that person's life.

Despite any struggles, you showed me how to be like the flower, sing and dance like the trees, and that life is beautiful whenever we laugh together, cry together, or ...eat polenta together.

You taught me the gift of sacrifice when you told stories of what the bombs sounded like in the distance, or when you had no food for the night. You said, it's when you feel you have nothing left, that's the moment life happens to come by and kiss you on the cheek.

You were always there in times of need: Whether I was sick or confused - you were always ready to help me heal.

Telling lies, you said, would always sneak out from beneath the cracks at some point - you were right!

Most of all, you listened, you never interrupted, and were always supporting my decisions, no matter how crazy they were.

You showed me that the world is not as scary as we think it is when all we need is someone who can simply accept us for who we are - faults and all.

And though I no longer hear your voice from the outside, I have the magic to still hear it on the inside any time I call you.

Every time you hugged or kissed me, I learned that strength is not defined by force, money, success, but by the power you have to love yourself and others. This is the power we all have to heal the world.

Wherever you are, thank you to my amazing Italian mamma.

Ti voglio un bene infinito!

(PS: My mamma wouldn't be who she was without my amazing papa' either - I'll write about him, too one day!)

Gabriele Ciminelli