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Why we reconvene at Mozart’s Friday mornings represents a different question than asking what benefits we receive from it. What we get isn’t always what we expect. In addition, each person likely has a different response, which may vary over time.

I follow this simple checklist:

While we all generally appreciate conversation and stories, people often share in particular what they are working on and/or what compelling or crazy ideas and projects they have cooking. We like this and help when we can.

Even more important, in these conversations people authentically open up about life, including its battles.

  • Serious challenges find us all, and sometimes people share their story.
  • Often enough to change our trajectories, someone else has been someplace like it before.

Though different, this West Wing clip nonetheless calls to mind the parable of The Good Samaritan.

25 And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?

26 He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou?

27 And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.

28 And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.

29 But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour?

30 And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead.

31 And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.

32 And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side.

33 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him,

34 And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.

35 And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.

36 Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves?

37 And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.

The Bible, Luke 10:25-37, KJV.

A few weeks back, I arrived at Mozart’s about 7:45 a.m. and individually texted a few people asking if they were joining us later that morning. Two texted back nearly identical photos from Big Bend where they were at that moment chaperoning a kids’ trip, and I had no idea till seeing these photos that these two people even knew each other, to which my friend Tina replied saying, “Wow, small town.” I answered, “Yes, and the town gets even smaller when you tell everyone you will be in the same place at the same time each week, and then you follow through for 15 years.”

It’s a wonderful life, eh.