Melville H. Nahin, 33
Beverly Hills, California

Despite life’s darker moments, this is truly a wonderful world in which each of us is a part of the family of God.

What a great variety of different kinds of families we are exposed to as we progress through life! Most assuredly there is the family of people to whom we are related by blood or marriage; the family of our work associates; the family of officers with whom we work in Lodge, Grand Lodge, or Masonry’s Concordant and Appendant Bodies; and, of course, the family of our Brethren in the Scottish Rite, Southern Jurisdiction.

I am proud to say I am part of all the above families--the family into which I was born; the family into which I was married; the family created by my wife and myself which now includes our children, grandchildren, and our extended family; and the many friends who are a part of our Masonic endeavors and our wide circle of life. With all these, supporting each other, we share the beauty and horror, the happiness and sorrow inextricably woven into the fabric of existence. Gratefully, mine has been basically a good life, and I am blessed with a wonderful family, both immediate and extended.

But I read and hear about so many families that have not had the joy and comfort I associate with my various families. I read about the tragedy of Oklahoma City and of the many families destroyed with that bomb. I consider the horrible deed of a few young people who in a moment of thoughtless joviality took away from a busy intersection the stop sign for one direction. As a result, an innocent driver and a carload of people became the victims of an oncoming heavy-laden truck. The sufferings of those families and the terror each night of the truck driver are almost too much to imagine and endure.

But at the same time, I remember the good of life and its families--the graduation of my grandson last night, the wedding of the son of a friend on Sunday, this weekend’s installation of a young lady as Honored Queen of her Job’s Daughter Bethel. Pondering these, I am, again, inspired and uplifted by the values of family--love, understanding, trust.

At such moments, I recall the marvelous growth of children as Louie Armstrong described it in that beautiful song “What a Wonderful World”:

I hear babies crying,
I watch them grow.
They’ll learn much more
Than I’ll ever know,
And I think to myself,
What a wonderful world!

Indeed, as we look around us and share the blessings of the Great Creator of us all, I realize that this, despite life’s darker moments, is truly a wonderful world in which each of us is a part of the family of God. And that is the best family of all.