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.
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.
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.
The champion of our family neighborhood died last week. I’ve written before about how I grew up in a family neighborhood that included seven families. My grandparents, Tom and Effie Williams, lived next door to my parents. All the other families in the neighborhood were made up of my aunts, uncles, and cousins. While all the women in the neighborhood were generous, loving, hardworking Catholic women who did a magnificent job of managing their households and raising their children, there was one woman who stood out among all of them. To me, she was the champion of the neighborhood.
When I was growing up, one saying that I would periodically hear was, “He does not suffer fools gladly.” I thought of that phrase last week when I realized that we are wrapping up the month of April, which means that a third of this year is gone. The reason I thought of the phrase was because the month of April is associated with fools because of April Fools’ Day.
Last month, was the 38th anniversary of when I opened my law office. After 38 years, I still get frustrated with running my own business. I’m going to share something that happened to me last month that caused me to become extremely frustrated and angry. After I share my experience with you, I’m going to give you one of the keys to happiness — a key that allows you to still find happiness in a world that is fraught with frustration and anger.
When I was 11 years old, every Friday my dad made me write a personal letter to a woman he hardly knew. The woman’s name was Miss Miller, and she was my sixth-grade teacher at St. Mark Catholic Grade School. I don’t remember if it was her idea or his idea. All I remember is that after she called him on the phone a few times to complain about my behavior in class, they developed a scheme in which I was forced to write the following letter on a blank sheet of paper every week: