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The Happiest Word: “Good”
Dad told me to pick up 20 two-by-fours at Home Depot. We were working together on a job at our retreat center in Milton. As I was dashing out the door, he said, “Make sure they are straight.” Well, that changed everything. Home Depot’s two-by-fours are not all straight. Sure enough, when I got there, some builder picked through the pile and pulled out the good ones. So I had to remove all of the two-by-fours on the top layers to get to the bottom layer. I placed them all on the floor. I found my 20, and then I had to put the wood back in the way in which I had found them so the next builder can do the same thing that I had done. When I got back to the house, Dad grabbed the first two-by-four, placed it next to the corner of his eye, and looked down its length. He said, “Good.” Let me tell you–that was the best thing I heard all day: “Good.” Here is the reason why I didn’t hear, “These need to go back, or “I better get someone else to do it right.” I bring this up because Peter in his letter says that if you want to do good you will often have to pay a price.
I had a call from the hospital at 2 in the morning. The nurse asked me to come in to anoint a very sick patient. When I got out of bed, I looked out the window and saw snow-covered streets. So I grabbed my coat and cleaned off the car. I tried to get up the driveway but the tires spun. So I got out, shoveled, and salted. When I got to the hospital the security guard stopped me. He said my identification badge was expired. Apparently, he saw that the face on the id had a full head of hair. I admitted that it had been a while. After some paperwork, I got to the floor. The nurse who called saw me and exclaimed, “You are here; good” That word “good” was the nicest word I heard all day. She had no idea what I had to do to get there. I could have given excuses–I could not get out of the driveway, and the guard had stopped me. Then the nurse would have said, “Looks like I better try another priest. No, instead she said, “Good.”
My confrère in the community came up to me and said that his toilet was leaking. The problem was due to a rubber gasket under the tank. I always have spares so I obtained one and took it apart. But I found out that I needed a size bigger. I had no idea that the tank came in three-inch holes. So I had to get in the car and drive to Home Depot. At first, I only saw the small gaskets, but I was not leaving there until I found what I needed. A 20-minute job turned into a two-hour job. When I finished, my confrère asked me if I had completed the task. I told him that I just finished. Take a guess what he said next. Yes, he remarked, “good.” He has no idea what I had to do to earn that word.
One day I hope I have the privilege of meeting the Lord. I hope at that moment I have lived my life in a way that produced a lot of good. I do not want to hear Him say,” I had to get someone else, or you had too many excuses to work with you.” I just want to hear the Lord say that one word: good. I know it will come at a cost, but it will be worth itBack to All Homilies