Character?

Day Six: A Character-Building Experience

Today’s Prompt: Who’s the most interesting person (or people) you’ve met this year?

This Writing 101 post assignment is supposed to help build my skills at describing people and their traits and their affect on me by describing someone new in my life. But I don’t really meet a lot of new people. I can’t think of anyone I know whom I met for the first time in the last twelve months. So I’m going to write about someone I met about 30 months ago: my beloved Lulu.

No one else in my life has had the impact she has. No one else has left such a lasting impression, transformation really, on my life. So what is it about her? What is her Character?

My first impulse is to fill up paragraphs with lists of her many amazing qualities, traits, attributes and accomplishments. My first impulse when speaking of her is always to make the page glow with her bright light and goodness. That would be easy to do, because she has many wonderful qualities that set her apart from any crowd.

But a long list of praises wouldn’t accurately capture her character, wouldn’t keep your interest and would quickly grow cloying and trite.

Rather than make that mistake, let me tell you what I see as her greatest character feature. This is a risk, because by choosing only one, many more amazing things about her are left unsaid and you might get a false sense of who she is and why I value her so highly. But I’m going to risk it.

My amazing Lulu is, to my eyes and heart, the loveliest human alive. But it is not the engaging smile, the addictive laughter, the soft golden hair, the bright, intelligent eyes, or the quick, quirky wit that captivates me most about her. Lots of people are smart and funny and pretty. But I have found in her a rare quality that defines her character above any other: an all-encompassing compassion that radiates acceptance and caring and safety for all.

That sort of agapé love is rare, despite the millions of religious zealots around the world who profess to have that sort of unconditional love for everyone. Even more rare in my experience is the fact that her compassion is for all life, not just human life. While it is true that lots of people are animal lovers, how many truly view the animals in their care as persons in their own right and treat them with the dignity of personhood? My Lulu does.

It is this acceptance, this capacity for reverence of all life that I find most extraordinary about my beloved. She Seems to have infinite room in her heart to love and care for everyone she meets, regardless if they are two-legged or four, furred, feathered, scaled or otherwise. She sees intrinsic value in the life energy of any being and treats it with the reverence and respect owed to such a miraculous being.

It’s that wonder and openness of her heart that loves first and questions last that makes her character, for me, such a rare and beautiful thing.

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