Holding to the latter

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"I'm an active person and I like to do lots of things, but all of that just works around my day job. Now my wife, on the other hand, never stops. She never sits. She rarely sleeps. She's too preoccupied with figuring out the next way to help one of the many not-for-profit organizations she helps."

"She sounds quite dynamic," I say, "and it would be inspiring to meet her."

In between, we take sips from our red plastic picnic cups in front of us at the reunion.

He continues, "She's a real estate agent as well and has voluntarily prepared for and successfully passed every certification there is in the real estate field."

I respond, "Well, for sure, I'd love to meet her."

"She's one incredible lady. Why, we all refer to her as the 'Mother Teresa of Real Estate,' on account of the clients and properties she shepherds," he shares. "If the property is in foreclosure, she handles it. If there's a bankruptcy or an absentee landlord or a home ravaged by a flood or you name the worst thing that can happen to a house or to property, my wife will be right there to give it some love. She can sell these properties so fast. It's really magic. Nobody else in her agency will touch most of these properties, but then my wife appears — and the magic begins."

"Maybe everyone else is stepping aside so that your wife can work her magic. They don't want to discourage her because it's important to make good on these now-tarnished places," I offer.

"You could be right," he agrees. "Or she could just be a really, really saintly person who's genuinely helping others. You know — in Mother Teresa style. I'm holding to the latter."

[Nancy Linenkugel is a Sylvania Franciscan sister and chair of the department of Health Services Administration at Xavier University, Cincinnati.]