He strides up to you, smile on his face, makes eye contact, takes your hand, and you immediately feel that he cares about you as a person. This is the first impression of John.

As I have gotten to know John during the last two years, I have gotten to know someone who practices what he preaches: he operates from a place of love. Even when he disagrees with someone, and he like all of us has his own perspective, he talks about it with love and compassion. He has the ability to identify the problem, be direct, and yet strive to understand and empathize with the other individual’s point-of-view. He also has a sense of humor about himself and our lives.

I watch him at church. He speaks with the children; he has a playful side that they enjoy. It is not unusual to see children run up to him just to be near him. He speaks with adults of all ages, matching his interactions to their style. With the older adults he speaks their language. With my twenty-one-year-old daughter who was seriously scarred by a previous church experience, he has been a part of healing her view of church and church people. When a chore needs to be done, John will do it. He doesn’t hesitate to use his time and resources on behalf of other people.

John gives me hope for the future of humanity.

This is the first of periodic posts about individuals in my life who exude the love of God or Allah or Jehovah or who seek the peace of enlightenment. Some of these people I have known for years; with some I only had brief encounters. In each of these human beings I can feel the Spirit in them.

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