Me and Others

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 I always question why we are so interested in what other people do, or what others have. Jealousy may be a response; more often it is nosiness. We are so interested in others that we sometimes forget about ourselves. Some of the issues I question have to do with faith, ethnicity, and, of course, sexual identity. Personally, I do not care what faith a person follows, where a person’s family comes from, or whether he loves a man, or woman. His life is up to his own personal relationship with God. God does not ask my opinion; therefore, I offer none.

I have friends who are jealous of what others have. Why? Others’ lives are not different than ours; they still love, raise families, work hard for what they have. After years in my own business, I stepped into the role of a teacher; this is something God was telling me all my life, but I was not listening. As a teacher, I became the richest man I know. I had students who enlisted their parents’ help to enter my honors classes. I had students who took more than one course with me. I have students who this day still stay in touch with me. Being a swim coach, I had a student who just winning a major race, leaped from the water, jumped up and hugged me, soaking wet. I had another student race into my classroom, give me a big hug, thanking me for supporting her when she doubted whether she could get the lead in the school play. She did.

When a student gave a speech to her class, and thanked me for all my help, my wealth was enormous. And, when I was voted the most popular teacher in the high school two years, back to back, I was as thrilled as any teenager who realizes success. I may not get paid as much as a bank president, or a government contractor. But, when I retired from teaching college literature, I was given two plaques honoring my service; the standard one from the college, and a second from the English department thanking me for all the individual help I gave ALL my students; I will rephrase that – ALL students; I had many students who were not in my classes asking me for help in writing their papers.

I have nothing that I covet from another person.

As I look at those I have met in my life, the happiest are those who are comfortable in their own skin. On the reverse side, those who are always trying to be better than others are not happy. I know men who divorce because they cannot stand that their wives make more money than they do. I have had other friends who have switched roles, the wife the breadwinner and the husband to home keeper. Who cares!

We are all meant to do a certain job in this life; the main job is not to please others. We must be happy with whom we are, happy with whom God has blessed with certain talents. I cannot question what a person does; I can only question if that person is walking the path of light that God has laid before him or her. If the path is correct for that person, it correct in the world around us.

While teaching in college, I had many male students who were studying to be a nurse. Some people question why a man would be a nurse; why not? I myself have many female doctors; my male friends ask if I am uncomfortable being examined by a woman. Why not? When I need a doctor, I don’t care if the doctor is male, female, black, white, a US citizen or a visiting doctor from South Sudan. He or she is there to help me get back on my feet. Just as God ordained me to be a teacher, God has ordained them to be doctors.

Thank God for diversity; thank God for each of us.

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