Bridget is my second kiddo. She is 24 years old. And -- like her older sister before her -- she is my role model.
Bridget loves people. Really loves people. If you are Bridget's friend, or even her internet acquaintance, Bridget loves you. Unless you are a douche-bag. There's no in-between with Bridget. She either loves you. Or she doesn't. But she's not too hard on people, so don't fear. Although, you will win a bit more favor with Bridget by being a person of logical thinking skills. She favors St. Thomas, but if you are a Nietzsche fan, she'll be (sort of) okay with you. As long as you do Nietzsche right and don't use him as an excuse to be a douche-bag. If you learn the proper lessons from Nietzsche, then Bridget will be your friend. Which means she'll love you.
Bridget will also love you if you are -- like me -- more a person of intuition than a person of logical thinking skills. As long as you use your intuition for good, and have at least a passing amount of respect for those who favor logic, Bridget will be your friend. Which means she'll love you. If you don't have at least a passing amount of respect for logical thinking, Bridget will still love you (as long as you aren't a douche-bag), but she may roll her eyes a lot and say "ugh" when not in your presence.
I learn a lot from Bridget's love of people. I, myself, like a great number of people, but it is harder for me to love them. At least in the way that Bridget does. Bridget loves people in a truly heartfelt way. Bridget loves people with the deepest of emotion. I love a few people like that, but not too many. I keep more of an emotional distance. I'm a bit more guarded with my heart. And I admire Bridget for opening herself up to love people -- even after having had more than one experience of being hurt and disappointed by her fellow human beings. And Bridget has had some pretty bad experiences with people. Those she thought were good have, at times, turned out to be douche-bags. She doesn't actually love those people, anymore (unless they were douche-bags in an unintentional, innocent type of way), but she lets herself go on loving new people. I would never do that. I don't do that. So, I really admire Bridget. And I wish I could be more like her.
Bridget is an exceedingly generous person, with both her time and her talents. She is also generous with her treasure -- even though she doesn't actually have any. If you're talking about percentages of net worth, Bridget probably gives more away than pretty much anybody else I know. For -- if you know Bridget -- you realize that she is, for health reasons, unable to work a normal job. She has a little home business (her Etsy store is The Bagel Box), making beautiful baby blankets and nursing covers and baby clothes. As you can imagine, this doesn't pull in a great deal of income. But Bridget still gives the people she loves gifts for all manner of special occasions. And she hates charging people for her baby items -- especially her friends, because she loves them, and wants to give them all things for free. She also donates regularly to her alma mater, because she tells me that they receive certain grants based on the percentage of alumni who donate. If I were Bridget, I would not even think that I should give money to my alma mater, being that I really didn't have an income. Bridget does it, though, cheerfully and without reservation. I am always telling her that she doesn't need to do this, but she ignores me. Bridget is also willing to help you out in any way that you need help, if you are her friend. Because she loves you. And I see that it truly makes Bridget happy to be generous. I ask her what her bank balance is, and she doesn't really know. I ask her if she actually has the time and energy to be helping out at church so much, and she always says she does. Even though I kind of know better. Last night, she hauled ass WAY down to La Mesa to help out with a choir that she isn't even going to perform with, because she knew the song they were rehearsing, and none of the other ladies did. They practiced the song for two hours and today Bridget has taken two doses of migraine medicine, thus far. I would be a little annoyed, if I were Bridget, but she is not in the least bit annoyed. Sometimes -- I admit -- I have to put a lid on all this generosity. I am glad, though, that she has such a giving heart. I'd rather have to put a stop to her once-in-a-while than have her be any different than how she is. She inspires me to be more generous myself, without worrying so much about my future assets.
I also see that because of her health problems and the -- not insignificant -- suffering they cause her, Bridget is developing a very deep spiritual life. Hers is not the kind of "spiritual life" that leads a person to become some sort of annoying "Christian motivational speaker." It is not the kind of "spiritual life" that leads one to judge other people who aren't being "Catholic enough." It is, rather, an authentic spiritual life, in which she is becoming closer to God and becoming great buddies with Him. They keep each other company. She doesn't talk about this, but I can see it. And I can tell she relies on this relationship with God, who is her friend (and because He is her friend, she loves Him, as she does all her friends) to sustain her in what she suffers because of her health. I also see that her spiritual life is authentic because of the way it leads her to be LESS judgmental and more open and loving to all kinds of people -- including her "hippie" mother, who loves nothing more than a good drum solo at Mass.
I know some of you are probably thinking that this is a rather boastful blog post. I don't mean it to be, and I'm sorry if it comes across that way. I just want Bridget to know that I do admire her. And I look up to her. Even when I tell her to stop writing those checks to TAC, for heaven's sake. ;-)