“The deeper we grow, the poorer in spirit we become– the more we realize that everything in life is a gift. The tenor of our lives becomes one of humble and joyful thanksgiving. In conversation, the person who is truly poor in spirit always leaves the other person with the feeling, “My life has been enriched by talking with you.” This is neither false modesty nor phony humility. His or her life has been enriched and graced. He is not all exhaust and no intake. He does not impose herself on others. He listens well because he knows he has so much ot learn from others. ” – Brennan Manning

I first stumbled on this thought in the mid-90s and it changed my whole perspective in relating to people. At that time, I taught graphic design classes at Truman State University and helped mentor a group of design students in the Publications Office. I’ll be honest, being in such positions caused my ego to swell a bit–believing I had a lot of insight that I could impart to my students on many different levels.

I remember the night that changed, though: we were driving through Kansas on the way back from a long road-trip. I was driving, it was 3 a.m., it was dark and quiet, and I couldn’t stop thinking about the above idea, and I suddenly saw how blind I had been. Memories of every student I mentored flashed by and I realized how much each one of them taught me–how each one of them enriched my life.

I look back now at how much the people in my life have shaped who I am today, and I can’t help but celebrate the thought of how interwoven our lives are. So many beautiful people have become like the threads of influence that now make up the fiber of my personality/outlook on life. Thank you: kathy, lee, jeff, mary, bruce, luci, olive, elnathan, carla, casey, pam, dave, emily, kathy, dan, bee, maryjo, ken, trish, john, linda, lucy, peter, dudley, veronica, tim, keith, rich, jessica, emily, mary, mike, dorothy, nancy, jeff, mutt, margaret, kathy, heidi, tom, mark, doug, jill, david, marlin, kathy, beth, serenity, pam, greg, buddy, jose, winston, teresa, jay, dan, ernest, kris, pat, mark, gretchen, jan, brian “buck”, chris, david, michelle, joe, jason, matt, liz, jim, phil, christina, laura, jennifer, john, chad, abby, tyler, nicole, jessica, steph, abby, madison, kelley, josh, mikey, katie, kara, george, mary, cindy, dawn, mia, jon, shannon, silvia, robert, keith, kelly, kyle, kara, diana, pam, crystal, diana, barb, tara, mike, phil, sarah, susan, t.w., jack, gary, wilma, dee, judith, ben, sarah, silva, jake, nina, cameo, hans, natalie, guy, tanya, linda, jane, jill, stephanie, terri, gini, michael, neal, mark, angela, jessica, erin, nate, victor, linda, ryan, trish, jim, emily, mikey, alyssa, josh, drea, jeff, steve, kate, aubrey, lolly, matt, joey, nate, david, eric, brit, bryan, ben, torey, bobby, phil, delisa, robert, pam, lisa, mary, robyn, alex, shaleen, lisa, nettie, chris, jamie, william, ¬†elijah, matt, rob, john, phil, erwin, john, richard, pete, mike, john, deb, david, tim, eric, brian, wil, leah, courtney, danny, barton, michael and michelle…. such a rich weave. Thank you.

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