Good Morning Everyone,
Our theme for this month: “Being a virtuous person”
Our Bible verse for today: “Haven’t I commanded you: be strong and courageous? Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 (CSB)
Our thought for today: “Develop the virtues of courage and optimism.”
Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia once wrote a eulogy in honor of the passing of his friend Federal District Judge Richard Casey. In the eulogy Scalia noted that the thing most people will remember about Richard Casey was that at the age of fifty-four, in the prime of his legal career, Casey lost his sight and became totally blind. But what was truly remarkable was that he did not retire from being a judge. With no complaints and without missing a beat Richard Casey simply learned how to be a blind judge. Like the Apostle Paul, he had others do his reading and writing for him. He listened carefully to the arguments being made in court and learned to make good mental notes. He had the sessions recorded so he could listen to them again, and he continued to be an outstanding judge even though he could no longer see.
As amazing as that was, through it all Casey maintained an upbeat and positive attitude that radiated joy and good cheer. He was resolute in the face of adversity, courageous as he worked hard to overcome obstacles, and he displayed unlimited optimism regarding the future. Scalia said being around Richard Casey made you ashamed of your own complaining and ingratitude.
He also had a great sense of humor and he treated his disability lightly, even joking about it. At one point he went to a ski school for the blind in Park City, Utah. As I remember the story, he was telling his friend Antonin about his skiing adventure and Scalia teasingly said, “Richard, you’re blind. You have no way of knowing if you were really in Park City, Utah or anywhere else. For all you know you could have been going up and down a big pile of snow on a K-Mart parking lot in Jersey City.” To that Casey replied, “Doesn’t matter. I had a blast anyway!”
In a similar story, yesterday (March 7th) was the eleven year anniversary of the day my wife Linda had her stroke and brain surgeries. In many ways they have been eleven hard years for us. She has had multiple other health problems since then and her disabilities have required a lot of adjustments on both of our parts. But in other ways these have been eleven very good years too. A big part of the reason they have been good is because Linda has the same kind of attitude about her disabilities that Richard Casey had about his blindness. She accepted it, adjusted to it, and got on with life. But she did so with great courage and optimism, as well as good cheer and a great sense of humor.
Stories like those of Richard Casey and Linda Mersereau inspire the rest of us to also work to develop the virtues of courage and optimism. If they can live that way then the rest of should be able to as well. We need to learn to be courageous and optimistic, even in the face of great adversity.