As a young man, Al was a skilled1
artist, a potter with a wife and two fine sons. One night, his older son developed a severe stomachache. Thinking it was only some common intestinal2（肠的） disorder3
, neither Al nor his wife took the condition very seriously . But the boy died suddenly that night.
Knowing the death could have been avoided if he had only realized the seriousness of the situation, he always felt he was guilty. To make matters worse, his wife left him a short time later, leaving him alone with his six-year-old younger son. The hurt and pain of the two situations were more than Al could stand, and he turned to alcohol4
for help. In time Al became an alcoholic5
As the alcoholism progressed, AL began to lose everything he possessed6
-- his land, house, etc. Finally Al died alone in a small bar. Hearing of Al's death, I thought, "What a totally wasted life! What a complete failure! "
As time went by , I began to revalue my earlier rough judgement . I knew Al's now adult son, Ernie. He is one of the kindest, most caring , most loving men I have ever known. I saw the love between Ernie and his children, thinking that kindness and caring had to come from somewhere .
I hadn't heard Ernie talked much about his father. One day, I worked up my courage to ask him what on earth his father had done so that he became such a special person. Ernie said quietly, "As a child until I left home at 18, Al came into my room every night, gave me a kiss and said, "love you, son."
Tears came to my eyes as I realized what I had been a fool to judge Al as a failure. He had not left any material possessions behind. But he had been a kind loving father, and left behind his best love.