An Afterglow That Shines Strong

February 12, 2017

It’s hard to pinpoint the proper word.

Moved. Uplifted. Changed. Inspired.

The reality is I’m feeling a combination of all of these as I bask in the afterglow of meeting Pope Francis last week.

To be sure, I’m very touched by all the kind words, love and support from all of you who followed my once-in-a-lifetime experience in Rome. The messages on Facebook, the Cox Automotive Fuel page, and in my e-mail inbox give me hope and strength. Many of you share my desire for more civility, compassion and humility among each other, and those we don’t even know.

Perhaps most striking is the realization, and an increasingly unshakable belief, that all of this positive energy emanates from those few moments I shared with Pope Francis.

I’ve met a lot of people in my life that all of us would consider famous or important. None of those encounters comes anywhere close to matching the experience of feeling the Pope’s personal touch, and knowing, while not even understanding, that the words he shared with me carried deep significance.

I’m now convinced that he imparted to me a special lesson—that every moment with someone else, however fleeting, connects to a larger current, shared by everyone. It’s our choice to give this current greater strength, or divert its momentum. Our choice is evidenced by the way we engage and treat others, and whether we choose to open our hearts and minds in a manner that reflects our shared humanity.

I’ll be forever grateful to Pope Francis for offering this life lesson to me, and for the opportunity to learn it and share it with all of you.