Taking an interest in others' lives.
It didn’t receive a whole lot of attention at the time, but earlier this month, at Roosevelt University in Chicago, liberal Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor was asked about her relationship with conservative Justice Clarence Thomas, and her answer probably surprised some people:
“I have disagreed more with him than with any other justice, which means we don’t come together on many cases. And yet I can tell you that I spend time with him, understanding that he is one of the few justices who knows practically everybody in our building. He knows their name, he knows the things about their life, what their family is suffering. He’ll tell me, ‘You know that that person’s wife is sick right now, or that person’s child is having difficulty.’”
“There’s no other justice who does that. I try, but he does it better. He cares about people.”
Regardless of how one feels about Sotomayor, Thomas, or their respective views and decisions on the Supreme Court, I thought this testimonial spoke very highly of both of them.
Beyond serving as a reminder that not everything in today’s political landscape has to be about anger, conflict, and division, it illustrated the power and character of something I’ve touched on in this newsletter before: lifting up others.
Thomas does it by taking a genuine interest in his co-workers’ lives. Sotomayor did it, in this case, by sharing with others a side of Thomas that many of her admirers and ideological allies probably didn’t want to hear. And by witnessing those qualities firsthand from Thomas, it sounds like Sotomayor’s been lifted up too.
Like Justice Sotomayor, I find that quality in people very admirable, and I wish I was better at demonstrating it myself. I too try… but don’t always succeed.
When someone shares a personal story with me, I try to be a good listener. When someone invites me to an event — one that’s clearly meaningful to them — I try my best to be there. When someone asks me for advice (it happens from time to time, believe it or not), I take the request seriously and offer the best guidance I possibly can.
But then there are those times when I’m talking to someone I know fairly well about their family, and I inexcusably forget one of their kids’ names, or forget that one of their parents’ passed away, or forget about some big trip they just went on… and I end up feeling like a self-absorbed creep.
I know I’m far from alone in such missteps, but that’s of little personal consolation. I should be more attentive.
The good news is that while there’s still air left in our lungs, we can all work harder to do better. And hopefully, I have plenty of time to get better… not just in this regard but in others.
Taking an interest in others’ lives is something society needs a lot more of these days. Those who are already doing more than their share (and I’m proud to know some of them) have my deepest admiration.
Now That’s Dedication
Not even a heart attack and triple bypass can stop this fellow from starting the Sean Coleman Thriller series!
Best wishes for a speedy recovery, Duane! And thank you, Marie, for passing along the photo.
Obligatory Dog Shot
Resting dog face, part 2.
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Okay, this eBay purchase was pure, 100% nostalgia. My brother and I used to have this Batman record when we were kids. It was made in 1975, and includes four fantastic, sound-effects-heavy stories… which are an absolute riot — especially the fight scenes.
That’s all for now. Thanks for reading today’s Daly Grind.
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Take care. And I’ll talk to you soon!