I had the pleasure and privilege yesterday of working with a young woman to help her prepare for an upcoming speech contest. Her story is an inspiring one of some of the issues and obstacles she had to deal with while growing up, and of how she overcame them – as well as the insecurity and self-consciousness she felt because of them. She expressed gratitude for the people and organizations that helped her along the way, and described how they inspired and motivated her. She was eloquent, charming, enthusiastic, and gracious – and I’m sure she’s going to do a great job in the speech contest.

Working with her was just part of a full, productive, and enjoyable day. I spent it with a friend whom I’ve been in awe of ever since I first met her. One of the many things I admire about her is her devotion to students, and to helping and encouraging them to be their best – to find their strengths, pursue their dreams, and work toward a life and career that will give them satisfaction and fulfillment. It was thanks to her that I had the opportunity to work with the student on her speech. I was also able to join my friend at a meeting with several faculty members at a technical college, where she is working to set up additional programs for some of the other students she works with.

Spending time with people like that – both my friend and the student, as well as the other teachers – always fills me with inspiration for the present and hope for the future. It reminds me of all the good people in the world, the ones who give generously of their own time and talents to help others and to make the world a better place for them, and the ones who are the beneficiaries of those efforts – and who will undoubtedly grow up to be that kind of person as well.

In between these meetings, we made time to have lunch at one of my friend’s favorite restaurants – where we had a delicious meal and lively conversation – and to do a bit of shopping. I’m going to be attending a few events in the near future that warrant business attire, and it’s been several years and at least ten pounds since I needed that type of clothing. Fortunately, another of my friend’s talents is a wonderful sense of fashion, so I’m now ready to attend the coming events looking – and feeling – polished and professional.

When she dropped me off and we said our goodbyes, we agreed on what a wonderful day it had been.

“We did some good for others, and some good for ourselves,” she said.

“Plus great food and great company,” I added. “I don’t know what could have made it any better.”

“Wine,” she said. “Maybe some wine.” I agreed that there’s always room for improvement.

Seriously, though, I don’t think there are many better ways to spend a day than with a good friend, doing work we love, and making a difference in the lives of others.

Especially when we can have so much fun in the process.

November 9, 2018
©Betty Liedtke, 2018

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