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I recently enjoyed a wonderful visit from a seminary classmate, who was visiting Massachusetts while on vacation with his family. As we sat talking and laughing about old times, he told me the story of the first parish he served after his graduation and ordination. It was a small church in a quiet town in middle-America, and both he and his wife were quite happy there. After 3 years of service he accepted an opportunity to transfer to a larger parish, and announced his resignation to the small community he was serving. As preparations for their departure were completed, a farewell banquet was held to honor the young priest and his family. As speaker after speaker rose to express heartfelt thanks and deep appreciation for the service he had rendered, and as expressions of regret were offered over his leaving, he turned to his wife and commented, "If they had said some of these things more often during the three years we have lived here, we probably wouldn't be leaving."

But if the truth be told, however, we must admit that more often than not, we take one another for granted. We do not often express words of appreciation to our spouses and children. We are quick to express disapproval and annoyance, but slow to offer words of praise and thanks.

It is important for all of us to learn not to delay words of kindness and encouragement. Everyone needs to know that they are appreciated. I have encountered countless people who expressed much regret at having waited too long to show appreciation and thanks to a wonderful parent or a very close friend. An opportunity to do so that is not used, is all too often tragically lost forver.

Stop and think for a moment, how many people in the course of the day enrich your life through their love, their affection, and their care of your needs? Strengthen them in their resolve to continue by expressing to them your appreciation of what they have come to mean to you. No one has ever regretted doing that!

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