Delivering God’s Love with Radical Kindness and Care
BY DEVI ZINZUVADIA | October 7, 2019
When Cokie Roberts passed away on September 17, we lost one of the all-time greats. Not just one of the great reporters, writers, or mentors, or Catholics (although that’s all true); we lost a wonderful human being. Cokie was a rare soul of grace and generosity who embraced radical kindness in all she did. God’s love can be a specific thing: service, witness, truth, caretaking. And it was God’s love Cokie delivered.It came to her naturally. She delivered even to those of us who had a small, but lasting, glimpse of her in our lives. I only worked with Cokie for a few years, but it was enough to reinforce critical lessons: be gracious to all, laugh often, work hard, and do everything in service of that which calls you. During a period when I was having a particularly rough time, Cokie told me to get up from my desk and join her for lunch, making me feel seen and known at a moment when I had no idea how much I needed it. Over the last couple of decades, she was always there to answer an email or offer a quick word of encouragement. Multiply my tiny experience by a factor of, well, some giant number; Cokie did more than most with her 24 hours each day, fueled by that radical kindness, grace, and care. She was a wonder.
I know this is a Jesuit essay series, but Cokie and I are both children of the Sacred Heart (the RSCJ are among the very best mentors around in delivering God’s love), and so I bring that lens to this as well. Thinking of Cokie while considering this Sunday’s readings, Timothy’s letter especially strikes a chord:
Beloved, I remind you, to stir into flame
the gift of God that you have…
For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice
but rather of power and love and self-control.
We are given the gifts of power and love. Radical kindness rises up. Find those mentors in delivering God’s love, then go and do your part.
Devi Zinzuvadia is director of parish communications for St. Ignatius Church, a welcoming and inclusive Jesuit Catholic faith community in San Francisco. She is active in the work of ISN, serving on the Ignatian Family Teach-in for Justice steering committee and the Jesuit Parish Justice Summit planning committee. Devi is an alumna of St. Ignatius College Prep and is involved in a number of Jesuit network partnerships.
Lovely comment. We do have the power of love and self-control.
I heartily agree. Some years ago, in Cokie’s hometown of New Orleans, we founded a residence for homeless, unaccompanied women. We named it Lindy’s Place, for Cokie’s wonderful mother, Lindy Boggs. Cokie was always very generous in aiding us to raise funds, etc. to provide for the needs of our program.
She was truly her “mother’s daughter”. I can think of no greater compliment. We will miss her.
I, too, am a TCSH – they taught me so much about Catholic social teaching, and doing justice – and this was 50+ years ago. One question: a friend posted, when i wrote about Cokie Roberts, that she had defended US actions in Guatemala during the time of the civil war there. do you know if this is true? My friend said that her brother, a Washington lobbyist, was representing the Guatemalan government at the time. Of course, this was more than 20 years ago. People change.
Long live the memory of the inspiring life and deeds of the late Cokie Roberts.