It sounds like a joke, and I say it all the time: "you've restored my faith in humanity". I say it when someone just plain-old treats me like a human being. You know, when someone does something small and logical, but which is usually overlooked. Like the person who says "here, wear my coat" instead of "HOW can you be cold?!", or shows up to help on a project you only mentioned in front of them.
These are people who's presence in my life has helped me keep going. They are often people I met when I was beginning to have a very Marxist view of society as inherently evil and selfish, and knowing them was to see God in others again. They have embraced ideas others balked at; actively supported causes that meant little in their own lives because of what they meant to me (and to others); have gone the extra mile to strive for the best, not just the baseline. They make the right choice even when no one is looking, and forgive me when I make the wrong one. They are passionate and patient, a combination that eludes me still. Their very existence refreshes me, and inspires me to live up to the ideals they would hold for themselves, and yet never judge me. They love me when I can't love myself.
Knowing these people is a gift in my life. They emerge at the most surprising times and places, and I find myself searching for new opportunities and challenges in the hopes I'll get to meet one more like them. None of are famous, but they all radiate hope, faith, love, and usually peace. They defy cynicism and shatter pessimism. They are everything I see missing in myself, and yet act as though I were something special - because they see something special in everyone they meet.
I wish I could share them with the whole world, so the world would see that altruism is real. How can we deny God's existence and mercy when His love is so tangible in them? They are lights under a bushel, and I'm so blessed to have been there when their cloaks were lifted to reveal how they shine.
I'm not going to enumerate them here, but their names form a list on my heart and in my prayers. They've been the family I was gifted at birth and the one I've been gifted in marriage. They're the loyal friends - the kind so many people like me long for and need desperately. They've been coworkers and classmates, students and strangers. They were chance acquaintances who turned into some of my greatest allies. They've worked at my school, in my building, and in stores I've shopped at; they're in my hometown parish and across the country. Some are loving me from heaven and some from on Earth. None will ever know how grateful I am for them, but I hope they know their love is returned.