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I believe we all have the ability to administer grace to others through our communications – both conversations and correspondence. We can lift and edify, if only for a moment, if we only have the courage to act on a “generous impulse”.

A few years ago, I was walking across campus. The woman in front of me was wearing, what I thought, were some really amazing red shoes. I thought “I should say something to her – no that would be weird – no, I really should say something – no I am a stranger – no – say something!” Unfortunately, it usually takes a few times for me to act on a prompting  I sped up, tapped the woman on the shoulder, and said “Excuse me, but I just had to say I think your shoes are amazing!” She whipped around and said, “Thank you – I am on my way to the Law School for an interview.” I replied, “Good luck – you will be great!”. Now I could have chosen to say nothing, but I believe in seeing something wonderful and saying something about it, I made a difference for good.

Not long after, I was on another college campus. A man was sitting on a bench outside an office, working on his computer. He had gorgeous, shoulder length, auburn hair, with a natural wave. Really something I could covet if I were not careful – as there was a small part of me throughout my life that thought I was a redhead in disguise, but I never had the confidence to try. Once again, I tried to convince myself that I did not need to say anything, but eventually I walked up, stood in front of him and said, “I think you hair is absolutely gorgeous!”. He smiled, nodded and returned to his work. Now, although he did not say anything, I still believe I made a difference for good.

The first few years of my doctoral program were brutal – as I sat through several statistics classes, I would think “How I love feeling stupid for a few hours each day!” At the end of a particularly difficult day – if you say “multivariate analysis” I still twitch – I was in a copy center getting some materials printed for the class I would teach that evening. I was exhausted, more than a bit discouraged, and utterly out of sorts and feeling small. I gave my materials to the clerk and waited in the next line to pick them up. After I had paid the clerk, she said “Someone ahead of you in line wanted me to give this to you.” I took the small piece of paper and read

As evidenced by the photo, that small piece of paper has been carried in my wallet and pulled out more than a few times when things were difficult. (Thank heaven for modern technology when I was finally prompted to take a photo and have it immortalized in “the cloud”.) I am ever grateful for the stranger that day that saw something good and chose to intentionally do something about it.


In today’s world we do need to be sensitive to some realities, but I believe there are still many opportunities to see something wonderful and then say or write something. This week, look for something to say something or write something good about and then do it. I believe as you intentionally look for the wonderful, you will see it more frequently and, by saying or writing something, you will make a difference for good in your life and in the lives of those around you.

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