People Add Color to Life

Posted: November 28, 2017 in Life's Design
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kaleid.A kaleidoscope, the kind shaped like a hand-held telescope, contains pieces of material, each a different color. The viewer looks through the lens like looking through a telescope and sees a colorful pattern through two or more reflective surfaces. As the instrument is turned, the colorful patterns change. 

Consider each color in your kaleidoscope represents someone you’ve met. As you meet someone new, you add a new color. Then, consider each turn of the kaleidoscope a new day. Suddenly the pieces in your life align in such a way that a new pattern emerges. The new piece(s) added the day before now appear in the design next to pieces you may have had all your life.

Two pieces of color resting next to each other in today’s design doesn’t mean they actually know each other. It does mean that each piece becomes embedded into your life and forms a part of your life’s design. When we meet a new person, a little of who they are rubs off on us. They may leave something positive and enriching in our life, or a bit of negativity. Whether or not we even remember the person, there is something of that person that influences our life in good and not so good ways, and so their color remains part of the design.

kaleidoscope-series-number-7-alec-drakeI never know who I will see while dining at Chris’ at the Docket. The other day a friend from Poplar Bluff, I’ll call her Jennifer, was eating there. I had not seen Jennifer in nine years. She is a gifted copy editor and, though now retired, worked for an organization with which I had a relationship. She was often misunderstood, and her skills and abilities unappreciated. Even so, Jennifer maintained a sunny disposition, remained true to herself, and had a positive influence on other people. I hadn’t thought of her for several years. After meeting her at Chris’ I was reminded of how her positive outlook on life in the midst of unpleasant responses to the quality professional contribution she made has continued to influence my responses to similar situations—without even thinking about Jennifer.

blog12I met a lawyer, also while eating at Chris’, who specializes in condominium Home Owner’s Associations. While getting acquainted, I mentioned that I lived in a condominium on Locust. He asked if I was on our board and I said no. He was naturally looking for business. However, some of the services he offers to HOAs would help The Annex Lofts Condominium with current nagging problems. Someone like him might be able to help us address a particular issue raised at the recent HOA annual meeting. Since  meeting this lawyer, I have become more aware of legal issues related to condo ownership. My life has been enriched.

I have had conversations with the former chief of the Saint Louis Police Department. We’ve talked about policing, particularly issues related to the level of community understanding of how police departments work. One conversation was about respect and/or the lack of respect for authority. We talked causes for lack of respect, and about homes and schools where respect is demanded rather than modeled. My continuing to search for ways to encourage respect for authority has been influenced by the police chief. 

imagesRecently, all of the young things at KSDK were having an early lunch at Chris’. I knew it was lunch by the kind of food they ordered. Most of them are on the early “shift” and handle the Saint Louis Today program—the news desk, the weather, the traffic, etc. It was good to see them interacting off camera. They were having fun, enjoying each other. Occasionally something serious, I assume it was business, came up but didn’t last longer than a few minutes. They interacted one-on-one and one-on-group and, at times, all at once with laughter and evident good relationships. This kind of work collegiality lifted my spirits. Though I did not meet them, I see them almost daily on the screen. This experience increased the positive contribution they make to the design of my life.

Each day brings new experiences with people. Today I waved at Larry, the security man at City Garden, with whom I have conversations often. I walked by the Old Cathedral where Father Billing is priest; he also works for the Archdiocese of Saint Louis. We have had many collegial conversations about life and ministry while walking through the Arch Grounds before 7:00 a.m. mass. I saw Henry, a member of the Clean Team who has challenged me by his conscientiousness, his thorough sweeping up the detritus humanity leaves behind on the sidewalks, and he does it with a limp to his walk that would sideline many able bodied men. Ace, a busser who filled my coffee cup this morning and asked about my Thanksgiving in Oregon. Not only did he remember I was out of town for Thanksgiving, he also served me decaf for my second cup knowing I drink only one cup of caffeinated coffee. There’s Gabe and James who took care of Paco while I was in Oregon. Jac Pinto-Brickhouse, the barista at Catalyst Coffee Bar, and Chandler Branch at Art Saint Louis. 

Each of these and many, many others—perhaps including you—through the years have added their unique color to the design of my life. The kaleidoscope turns daily, connections and relationships shift, and new colors are constantly added. My life is rich and beautiful because of  people I’ve met.


  1. Anonymous says:

    These thoughts are what I would would expect from you. Wishing you and Paco a Merry Christmas.