I periodically receive a letter or email from someone who has never communicated with me but has written to me because he wants to complain about something I wrote. He usually starts out by saying that he has been reading my articles for a while and that he sometimes agrees with me. Then he drops the hammer on me by complaining about a topic I wrote about.
Her name is Victory Boyd. She’s 27 years old and she grew up in an African American, Christian family of nine children. She started singing with her family when she was four years old. I had never heard of her until I read an article that reported that she had been scheduled to sing the national anthem on September 9th at the National Football League’s (NFL’s) opening season game. The day before the game, the NFL cancelled her performance because she had not received the COVID-19 vaccination.
My wife and I took a few days off last week and drove to Branson, Missouri, for a short vacation. It was our third trip to Branson. Our last trip there was more than 15 years ago. One of the reasons we wanted to go to Branson was because we had heard about a Broadway-quality musical show about the life of Jesus that was playing at one of the theaters. The title of the show was Jesus.
I have a client — I’ll call her Joanne — who is a devout Christian. Joanne periodically contacts me and asks for my opinion about a faith-based issue she is struggling with. She recently asked me if I think she has an obligation to assist her husband’s mother — I’ll call her Frances — with her basic personal, healthcare, and financial needs.
The year was 1969. I was 12 years old and I had a paper route, money in my pocket, and a radio on the nightstand that was next to my bed. Back then, the world I lived in was as close to paradise that a 12-year-old boy could get. Other than 8-track tape players in cars, the only way we could listen to prerecorded music was on a radio or a record player.
In my last two articles, I wrote about experiences I had with people who some would argue deserve to be treated with contempt. While there were occasions in the past when I treated such people with contempt, I wrote that I now do my best to be as kind and charitable as possible to people who are less fortunate than I am or who are limited by their employers in what they can do for their customers, clients, or patients.
I’ve written before about Fr. Clair Bourdereaux, a Franciscan priest who was assigned to Sacred Heart Church in downtown Peoria in 1976. He remained there for 19 years, until his death in January 1995. Fr. Clair had all the qualities of a great counselor. He was holy, smart, wise, gentle, diplomatic, compassionate, and understanding. He had the unique ability to connect with people on their level and set them on a path toward holiness and happiness.
Last month, on my birthday, I made a trip to the local office of the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). It was the day that my driver’s license was set to expire, so I had to get it renewed. After waiting in line for a while, I got my picture taken, and then I had to stand in line again to wait for a clerk at the counter to renew my license. When it was my turn at the counter, I answered several questions to verify the information they had in their system.