I met with two friends of mine for lunch today - a christmas tradition that goes way back.
One of them, a successful fashion buyer, told me a story that warmed my heart. Her story touched me because she told it authentically.
On a heady night out recently, Mandy had been attending one of several parties and jumped into a cab a bit worse for wear.
She awoke later that morning and noticed that her watch, a diamond encrusted Cartier, was missing.
In a hungover panic, all the worst thoughts crossed her head. Had the maid stolen it? Had the cab driver realized she was drunk and slipped it off her wrist? Had one of her 'friends' taken advantage of her?
Anyway, she reported the unsolved crime to the police and put in the insurance claim.
Thing is about Mandy is she is one of the finest people I know. Privileged, but immensely grateful. Troubled, but not self obsessed. Beautiful and stylish but kind and intelligent. Above all, I believe she consistently puts others before herself.
Around 4 weeks later, Mandy received a call from the police.
Believe it or not someone had handed her watch in, having found it on the street. On picking it up, Mandy realised that the clasp was loose and it must have slipped off her wrist.
The watch is worth a hell of a lot.
And I don't know if it's sad indictment on my own take on human integrity, or a reflection of how bad things have gotten in society, but the fact that someone handed it back in having picked it from the street, renews my belief in the human spirit.
Either way I loved hearing this story at Christmas.
I think it was Lao Tzu who said that anyone can observe the Tao while solitary in the himalayas, but keeping such behavior in the midst of a hectic city is true strength.
The lady who returned the watch was called Charity, and Mandy sent her one of London's largest floral dispatches in recent years.
Beyond this, I really got that problems like ours really pale in comparison to the rest of the world's. But I got that everyone's issues are relative. And that if we can only ignite the human spirit to the extent that Charity showed, the world would be a much, much better place. I know that each and every one us has the ability to do this - for me, it is time to use it.
That is what my life is about.
I wish you all my love, and many, many happy wishes for the holiday season.