Making America Great

There’s been a lot of talk the past year about making America great again, Vera. It was the campaign slogan for Donald Trump, who, later this week, will be sworn in as our next president. Mr. Trump isn’t a great man by any stretch of the imagination (at least not mine). But let me tell you about an American who was. Continue reading

Treasure the Special People Whose Paths You Cross

I recently received a warm message from a fellow parishioner at the Bridgewater Church of the Brethren (which we attended when I was serving as president of Bridgewater College). The message was a welcome reminder of some of the very special people whose paths crossed ours during our lifetimes — and of some of our special time together.

It’s easy to forget sometimes. It’s easy to dwell on the less-than-special people, or the people who were asses. Sometimes it seems they outnumber the special people. But I’m not sure that’s the case.

When I recall our time at Bridgewater College, the first thing that usually comes to mind is the duplicity. It was as rampant as we’ve ever experienced anywhere — actually, more so (by far). Fortunately, though, I also remember some of the most special people whom I’ve ever had the good fortune to know. I wish that’s what would come to mind first. Perhaps someday.

We’ve been lucky, Vera. We’ve encountered some amazing people along the journey. Some were people of extraordinary accomplishments. Some were pure of heart. Some oozed goodness from every pore of their bodies. Some made us laugh (in a good way). Some were simply genuine, real, authentic and trustworthy. Some blessed us with rich conversation for hours on end. Some cared — truly cared.

Some of these people are still in our lives. Some aren’t. But all have enriched our lives immensely.

You undoubtedly will have similar experiences, Vera. And you’ll most likely be a very special person to people whose paths cross with yours.

My advice is to pause and treasure those moments and those people. I have found that they, more than any success you might have or goal achieved, are what truly make life special.

When you sense someone is making you a better person merely by being in their presence, when you receive inspiration from someone, when your courage is strengthened by the aura and example provided by someone, when your intellect and heart are stretched and softened by the words and actions of someone, when you are in the presence of someone with whom you can be yourself without any pretense or airs, when you eat, drink and laugh with someone who truly cares about you and your well-being, when you desire the evening to never end, know that, in the parlance of the religious, you are in the presence of holiness and are experiencing a holy moment. In secular parlance, it is special. Very special indeed.

It matters not what you choose to call it. But it matters greatly that you recognize it. And treasure it.