I took pictures today at the Breakfast Club, our church’s homeless breakfast program, and it occurred to me as I surveyed all the smiling faces of the volunteers just how lucky I am to be surrounded by so many good people. These fellow volunteers, with their devotion to good-hearted service, are only a few of the people who grace my life, but they are representative of just about everyone I know: kind, decent, down-to-earth and generous.
People joke sometimes about La-La Land and all the actor-wanna-be’s and the superficial attitude of people who are drawn to this expensive city, but I must protest. These are not the people I know. Even the friends I have who live in Beverly Hills – the poster city for affluent living – are not in this category. I’m not saying there aren’t people in the 90210 who are superficial, but they are not part of my personal experience. Somehow I tend to interact only with people who are “regular ole folks,” as we say in Texas. Perhaps those are the people I attract and who attract me.
I am not inclined to be impressed with superficial traits. I only find people interesting if they have a depth of experience, a big sense of humor and a tendency towards humility. I find self-absorbed people insufferable, and am not inclined to know them. I like people who look outside themselves while being aware of their inner workings. In other words, people with self-awareness and a community spirit. I find these people to be far more interesting, active, and alive.
I live in three different worlds on a fairly routine basis: LA, Ojai, CA and Sherman, Texas. I have found that as different as these places are, the people I know in each are remarkably similar at their core. They are good, solid human beings who are living their lives with integrity. They are not perfect, but they do their best to be consistently decent. What else can you ask of a fellow human being?
I am grateful to be surrounded with such fine examples of the human spirit.
Thank you, friends, I am lucky to have you all in my life.