“Finding Hope” reminds me of a story that occurred within my parish three years ago.
A mother of her adopted son, both raised in Pompton Lakes, visited me from Florida, after the tragic accidental death of her 30 year old son. She came here to arrange for the funeral.
“Tell me about your son, Dori,” I asked. She replied that her favorite memory of him occurred two years prior when he was driving on a highway in Florida. He came across a heron that had been clipped by another car, struggling to get off the highway while other cars weaved in and out to avoid hitting it again. Jeffrey stopped his car and delicately placed it in the trunk. He then drove to a local bird sanctuary and dropped it off. Several months later the sanctuary called to inform Jeffrey that the heron had healed and was placed in a safe environment.
“It sounds like Jeff was very kind and compassionate,” I said to the mother. “Those are the exact words I would use,” she responded. I invited Dori to create a project that carried on her son’s best attributes. It was, in effect, finding and creating hope.
With lots of encouragement and coaxing, I have presented at Butler High School graduation, The Jeffrey Keenan Kindness and Compassion Award, presented to a graduating senior. It comes with a $50 gift, courtesy of friends and family of Jeffery and Dori.
It will be a parent’s proudest moment.
We do give awards for smart and for sports, rarely for heart. Last year, after presenting the award, the guidance counsellors informed me that the seniors are actually competing for the award! Can you imagine?! Competing to be kind and compassionate!
A parent’s proudest moment! Dori got some of her sparkle back! She created hope in the midst of a tragedy.