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Lessons in Life Truly Learned

by Dianne May, president and CEO

I came across this story recently…

In the 1950s and 1960s, Charles Laughton was one of the great and best known actors in Hollywood. The story goes that Laughton was attending a Christmas Party with a family in London. During the evening, the folks asked everyone attending to recite a favorite passage that best represented the spirit of Christmas.

When it was Laughton’s turn, he skillfully recited the 23rd Psalm. Everyone applauded his participation.

The last to participate was an adored, elderly aunt who was dozing off in the corner. Someone gently woke her, explained what was going on, and asked her to take part. She thought for a moment. And in a shaky voice, she began: “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want . . .” When she finished, everyone was in tears.

At the end of the evening, when it was time to leave, a member of the family thanked Laughton for coming and remarked about the difference in the response by the family to the two presentations of the Psalm. When they asked him his opinion, Laughton responded, “I know the psalm. She knows the shepherd.”

It seems to me there are lessons in life that we only truly learn when we have lived them.