WOODSTOCK, Ill. -- As we make our way through life, I've discovered, our calendars are land-mined by various events that return to us each year. And if we're not sensitive to that in ourselves and other people, we can run roughshod over our own feelings and those of others.
The great religions teach us, of course, to be empathetic, which means to take into account the feelings and beliefs of those we encounter. Being conscious of the calendar is one way to do that.
Take, for instance, Sept. 21. I was married on that date in 1968. That marriage ended in 1995, but I cannot pass by a Sept. 21 without remembering that wedding. Exactly two years later, in 1970, on my second wedding anniversary, I went to work for The Kansas City Star.
So Sept. 21 then had two meanings for me, both celebratory, at least initially. My work at The Star lasted longer than my marriage. I was a full-time employee there for nearly 36 years, and I still write this daily blog that is on The Star's website and from time to time still do some freelance work for the paper.
Later, it turned out, Sept. 21 got celebrated in my family as the birthday of my older daughter's husband. Still later, it began to be celebrated as the birthday of one of my grandsons, now turning 9.
And as fate (or something) would have it, this weekend I'm commemorating 50 years since graduating from high school by attending a class reunion here in my hometown northwest of Chicago. (That's the front of my old school in the photo here today.)
So what's the point of raising all this on a blog about religion?
Just a reminder to consider the possibility that today may be an important anniversary in the life of someone you meet -- of something either good or bad. And we can minister to each other's needs more fully and carefully if we remember that and maybe even ask whether today's date is an especially meaningful one in someone else's life.
That will allow us to laugh with those who laugh and mourn with those who mourn. And surely that's some of what we're called to do.
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P.S.: While I'm gone I probably won't have time to post the usual second item here each day. I'll get back to that in a few days.