as my wife and i finished up our christmas cards for this year, she asked me to write a note to our friend clara. clara was a member of the choir in the church where i was organist before we moved to our present home. she had a lovely soprano voice and was often called on to sing solos in church. clara is a lovely person, too--kind to a fault, always thinking of others. she has not a hint of the egotism that often comes to those who are blessed with exceptional musical talent.
after we moved away, clara retired from her job as an elementary school teacher and her husband retired from his job as a pilot for an oil company. soon after retiring they moved to be near one of their sons and his family. we were surprised one afternoon when clara called us. she and her husband were on a train trip that brought them through our town, and they had a short layover here. we went down to the train station and brought them out to our house for a short visit. it was wonderful to catch up on the news of each others' lives, and we were thrilled that they thought of us when they arrived here.
we've not seen clara since then, and the only time we communicate is at christmas. last year clara's husband died, and we learned of his death through clara's christmas card. as i wrote her a note in this year's card, i thought of the many happy times of making music together and of pleasant times we spent in her home. i remembered her many kindnesses and her caring spirit that always thought of how to help others. i recalled what a wonderful teacher she was and of the many years she worked with the children of our church as the director of the children's choir. she touched so many lives, as she did mine, and everyone she touched is better off for having known her.
my prayer today is that each of us will have a "clara" in our lives showing us by what it is to be a truly caring, generous person. may we be filled with gratitude that such people exist and may we emulate the wonderful qualities that they demonstrate. shalom.