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(I hope this comes out the right way. Mainly I just want to high-light the priest’s words.)

I’ve read/heard a lot of  good counsel over the years and, sadly, unless I write down or bookmark the words somewhere it rarely stays vividly in my fuzzy memory. But one piece given in a  homily (Fr. Dan Patee for any of you FUS grads!) will stay with me always. He said, “The best compliment you can give someone is to acknowledge their existence. To let them know, ‘It is good that you exist.'”. Wow. When he said that I felt like I was the only one in the room, and that he was speaking right to me. Not only because it makes my day when a stranger smiles and makes a friendly comment, or someone I know takes the time to say “hi” and chat, but because I find it easier to go about my tasks than to stop, come out of my shell, and acknowledge the existence of others. This whole”acknowledging” business is something I continually struggle with.

I’ll see someone I know at the store and I’m all (pretend this is one connected thought)- I want to say hi but what if they don’t remember me or want to talk and I would be so embarrassed if I waved and they didn’t see me so maybe I’ll pretend I didn’t even see them and avoid contact completely but if they do come up I’ll act so surprised like I didn’t see them before.

or

I don’t feel like making the effort to go up and chat with that person so I’ll just leave the ball in their court and let them make the effort.

Deplorable. Could I please be more immature? How hard is it to offer a smile and hello? Or even send a card or message to let someone know another is thinking about them? Not to get all emotional and water-works here but my grandma passed away suddenly on St. Nick’s day and the last thing I received from her was a sweet card she sent us for Thanksgiving, “For Someone Special”. Grandparents have a way of making you feel special and singled-out, don’t they?  I want to try and live like that more- give my attention to my kids, husband, family, strangers and let them know, “It is good that you exist.”

“Spread love everywhere you go: first of all in your own home. Give love to your children, to your wife or husband, to a next door neighbor . . . Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God’s kindness; kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile, kindness in your warm greeting.”- Mother Teresa

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