I was at the market and saw a man wearing a t-shirt that said, “I’m a Keeper!” My first reaction was to look at his face to see if he was handsome enough to justify his wearing that shirt. He wasn’t. “So much for being a keeper,” I thought. When my cynicism wore off though, my thoughts turned to some less shallow things that would have made him a “keeper”. What qualities in a person would make him/her a keeper??
I looked at the people I love and enjoy being around and tried to identify the qualities that I value in them the most. Here are a few I’ve come up with:
1) Obedience. I thought of how my children behave and of their willingness to obey. It feels so wonderful when my children obey what I have asked of them even if they don’t like it or agree with me. I think of when I worked in a finance office and later as I ran a preschool. The employees I appreciated the most were those who did what they were asked to do without anyone nagging or reminding them.
2) Forgiveness. I am very quick to judge and slow to listen – hence the requirement for me to often ask forgiveness of others for hurt feelings or misunderstandings. How grateful I am to my family members, friends, and others I interact with who willingly and repeatedly forgive me when I do something rude or insensitive or just plain selfish.
3) Love. My husband is very good at overlooking the surface and looking to the heart of the matter or person. I ascribe this to the fact that he is a loving person. On days when I feel like road kill and look worse (hair hanging in my face, sweat trickling down my back and face, smears of peanut butter or garden dirt on my clothes, and my last ounce of patience used up hours earlier) he looks at me and says, “you look beautiful honey.” Or when I am confused and can’t seem to cut through to the heart of an issue to see a clear decision, my husband says simply, “you are very capable and no matter what you choose I am sure you can make it work.” Love breaks down so many barriers and clears your vision like nothing else can. How blessed I am.
4) Industriousness. There is nothing so sad as a person with so much potential wasting it in laziness or inactivity. I value those who can work and work hard. Through work we are blessed and receive far more than a physical reward for our work. We receive spiritual and emotional rewards that build self esteem and make us feel like we can conquer the world. Sad is the man who makes leisure his sole work - he can never take a vacation.
5) Kindness. I am grateful to know a few people in my life who would never consider saying anything bad about anyone else. They always look for the good in others. They can almost always be found thinking of others and doing things to help them. When there is an argument between others they are always there striving to keep the peace. When confronted with another person bent on being contentious, they refuse to take the bait and get upset, and many times will simply walk away. Kindness is a quality I need to develop in myself.
Now back to the guy with the t-shirt…. What makes you a keeper? What makes other around us keepers? I am going to try to look for the good in others around me and find out what makes each one of them a keeper.