Sunday, August 17, 2008

Good People

Recently we had the privilege of taking a cruise to Alaska. The ship was a veritable small town of people--over 2000 passengers, more than 1000 crew members.

On our first day at sea we struck up a conversation at the lunch table with a couple from Manhattan, NY. They were warm, friendly, intelligent, and patriotic. They loved America; they loved people; they were committed to serving this country in return for the many privileges America had given them.

The husband had served in World War II, then went to college, eventually receiving a PhD from Columbia University. He taught at the university level at a handful of prestigious schools, then was tapped by President Ronald Reagan to head up the Federal Executives Institute, a program designed to teach the heads of federal agencies effective management practices. Eventually he helped take the program to the international level. After retirement he turned his energies to volunteer work focusing on refurbishing and maintaining monuments honoring soldiers and sailors who gave their lives in the Civil War.

The wife was a professional singer, a professional watercolorist, and held three Masters degrees: one in the arts, one in counseling, and one in theology. Her love for and pride in her husband was obvious, as was her warm interest in people.

We saw these new friends later during the cruise and traded email addresses, promising to keep in touch. And not only do we plan to, we look forward to it.

In addition to seeing whales up close and personal, viewing breathtaking glaciers, and experiencing the overwhelming beauty of Alaska, a highlight of our trip was connecting with these people. We learned again that, despite wide differences in life experiences, locale, and cultural backgrounds, we have much in common with all of God's children. Among that vast number are many virtuous, lovely, and uplifting individuals who are living lives of decency and service. It was a privilege and a blessing to be reminded of that truth.

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