I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I am a Mormon. The Mormon church has started a service campaign during the month of December called Light The World. This campaign encourages people of all faiths and ideologies to find good in the world and in the people around them.
Today is Day Three. One of the challenges for today was to think about the people around you and point out the specific virtues they have; the ones that perhaps they do not see.
This got me thinking about the people in my life. Some of them I have more contact with than others, but so many of these people have affected the way I live my life for the better. Many of them I have not seen in years. Thanks to social media, however, they are still able to have an affect on me, perhaps without even knowing it.
First, and perhaps most obviously, are my parents. Vince and Joyce, they are good eggs.
They raised three children in a very specific way. They were incredibly strict as we were small children. As we got older, they loosened the reigns and allowed us to make our own decisions. Most importantly they did not try and shield us from the consequences of those decisions, whether positive or negative. They did not hover, they trusted us to be adults when perhaps, we shouldn't have been trusted with such a great responsibility. They have supported every endeavor, adventure and opportunity I have pursued, even when it was not necessarily what they would have wanted me to do. They not only allowed me, but encouraged me to discover who I am, apart from them. They have demanded that I think for myself, I decide for myself, and I not allow myself to place blame or burden on another person for my own actions. Likewise, they have had the same expectations for my brother and sister.
Aside from the parents that they inherently are, they as individuals are extraordinary.
My father is incredibly generous. He is generous with his time, with his resources, with his talents. He will help anybody, at any time. More times that I can count I have been witness to him giving money, a meal, a ride, or a tank of gas to someone in need.
My mother is very head-strong, she is goal oriented. She sees the good in everyone around her, and almost refuses to acknowledge the bad. She believes that people are inherently good and her relationships with others are built upon that belief.
These are good people.
The next person I thought about is my best friend, Sara.
Sara and I met 12 1/2 years ago in her freshman dorm room. It took us about 5 minutes of talking and that was it. We were best friends and have been ever since. We are so entirely different. She loves small children with every fiber of her being. All of them. She is cautious. She wants to settle down and build roots somewhere. She has always been the cute one. I am not quite sure how to hold a small child that doesn't belong to me. I am impulsive. Staying in one place to long makes me nervous. I have always been the tall one.
And yet we are so alike. We need each other. We love our families. We are patient and forgiving with each other.
I love her and I want her to know that I admire all these things about her. I especially admire the things about her that I am not.
The next person that I thought of was my sister in-law, Brianne.
Brianne is incredible. She used to be an elementary school educator, and is a natural and very talented and also very patient teacher. I watch how she talks to, encourages, corrects and disciplines her children and it is an art. It is a talent.
Brianne is organized and composed, even when she thinks she isn't. This lady totally has her S*&% together, and if she were to ever read this, I'm certain she will gasp and laugh nervously at that.
The last (though really not last because I thought of so many different people that it was difficult to pick just a few) is my friend Randy.
I met Randy nearly 9 years ago as we were both preparing to live in Korea and be missionaries for our church. When I first met him I thought he was a questionable human being. I soon learned that I had a friend for life. He is someone that I do not see often, but I consider him a very close friend. He is loyal, and I know if I were ever in a bind, he would help me out, no questions asked. He loves people and he knows how to create relationships that are solid, no matter how far the distance. I have a deep love and respect for this guy.
These are just a few of the people in my life. There are so very many more that have beautiful qualities. I love being encouraged to think about these people and their qualities, to focus my thoughts on someone other than myself and on something other than what I am currently experiencing.