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A happy heart

I had lunch this afternoon with my dear friend, Dominick. Each time we are together, he leaves with me some words of wisdom. Today, through his broad smile, he said “Your heart is happiest when it beats for others.” It got me thinking about the times when I am happiest. Those are the times when I am being of service to others in some small way. The simple act of writing an encouraging note, dropping off hot soup to a friend recovering from an illness or delivering a simple bouquet of flowers to someone in need of a pick-me-up makes me feel good.

It’s funny how you may intend to do something kind for another, but you really end up doing something kind for yourself. The old adage “It is in giving that we receive” rings true. There are countless ways – large and small – by which we can help others. Pick one and do it. I’ll bet you discover a happier heart beating inside your chest.

I have written about Dominick and the ways in which he inspires me in my unpublished manuscript, Comfort Food – Inspiring Stories of Loss, Friendship and Healing. The following passage provides a glimpse into what makes Dominick so special.

“Dominick is the widower of my godmother and second cousin, Kathy. He is one of the most genuine, devoted, generous, wise, and loving people I know. Kathy died in January 2004 after succumbing to cancer. She was full of life and so much fun to be around. She had a thousand-watt smile. Kathy understood people well and gave of herself in service to others. Dominick would later tell me that Kathy was training him to take over her duties and he did not even know it. Yes, she was smooth.

When Jeff died, my friendship with Dominick deepened. He was then and continues to be a source of inspiration, comfort, generosity, and kindness. He is a mentor, motivator, and guide to me and my boys. This is another one of those priceless gifts hidden in the pile of rubble… There is no doubt Dominick is one of the angels sent to guide me through this world. I feel so blessed to have this amazing man in my life.

As long as I have known Dominick, he has been a man of deep faith and a devoted Catholic…Dominick not only believes his faith, he lives his faith. He “walks the walk,” so to speak. He volunteers at the state hospital, taking geriatric patients to Mass on Sunday. He also volunteers at the rummage sale fund-raiser in the spring and fall, repairing and refurbishing donated items. He volunteers at a Retreat House and is on the board of directors. He is chairing their fund-raising campaign.

He is one who is dedicated to serving others. I think this is why he has grown and expanded in so many ways. As he gives to others, he gives to himself. As he gives to himself, he grows and expands. His generous and loving spirit has inspired me to be a better person, mother, daughter, sister, and friend. I bet Kathy is grinning from ear to ear.”