there are many kind and loving people in the world, and i am fortunate to be surrounded by some of them. when i go to choir rehearsal at church, i often sit next to "c" who is the exemplar of a good person. c is a couple of years younger than me. c's wife passed away a few years ago, leaving a hole in his life that can never be filled. he is always filled with optimism, though, and never gave into bitterness over his wife's untimely death. he speaks with glowing pride of his grandchildren and spends much of his spare time helping one of them who is handicapped. i marvel at his capacity for caring for others and his refusal to speak ill of another person. i always feel better for having been around him.
then there is "l," another friend from church. she and her husband, "s," always have smiles on their faces. their love for each other is evident when you are around them. l sings in the choir, too, and i've served on several committees with her at church. no matter what difficulties we encounter when we work together, she always persists in looking for solutions, never expressing any discouragement. she is quick to laugh and has an uncanny ability to find middle ground between opposing opinions, bringing people with seemingly irreconcilable differences together.
one of the friends i most admire is "m," a wonderful musician and a great human being. m if full of energy, a full-time teacher who also conducts our local orchestra, directs the music at one of our large catholic churches, leads our community chorus, performs frequently as a pianist, and still has time to help anyone who calls on him. he and his wife have a young daughter, and he's a devoted father and husband. it's difficult to deal with temperamental musicians, but m never becomes impatient. he encourages young talent and is one of the most modest people i know. when he smiles, everyone around him has to smile with him, and one never know what witty remark he will come up with next.
as i think about c, l, m, and the long list of friends i admire, they have this in common: they are filled with optimism, always looking for solutions, never allowing life's difficulties to get the better of them. may we all be problem-solvers rather than naysayers. may others feel better for having been around us. may we look forward to a bright future rather than allowing past mishaps to fill us with bitterness and fear. may our lives touch others for good. shalom.