Reaching Out to Dilute the Loneliness

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These are days of extraordinary loneliness for many people. Several of my past blogs have mentioned the kindnesses of people reaching through the fog surrounding others to let them know they are thought of and loved. Please contact the lonely, here is why.

You may have read my post two weeks ago on the death of our beloved dog, Finn. To my surprise, it produced a number of personal responses. Some requests were to send it to people who either lost pets during this time and were alone or had no other family members but had a loyal pet. So I made more copies of my post and while doing so decided to take a chance and send one to Finn’s previous owner, who, according to the address on his adoption papers, lived out of state. Thinking the owner may no longer reside at the address, I still took a chance and sent the post.

A few days later, a woman called me and said she was calling for her daughter. She broke into tears. Her daughter was Finn’s previous owner, a young single mother who upon getting a divorce had to give her beloved dog to the ex-husband as she could not take him with small children into a rented home. Apparently, Finn then got loose at his new home and someone had taken him to a shelter where he was identified through a chip. The woman’s daughter had identified him, paid for all his medical expenses and for travel to the closest spaniel rescue center which is near us in Northeast Ohio.

But here is the real story. The woman on the phone was crying which turned to serenity. She told me that the letter I sent her daughter meant very much because this past summer that lovely daughter, that exceptional young mother had died of melanoma. I paused; a silence fell between us and I could almost hear her tears falling. She was a beautiful, caring woman said her mother. When she wanted a dog for her young family, she went to a prison where prisoners rehab street dogs. They train them as part of their own rehabilitation and put the dogs up for adoption. Finn had arrived at the prison in deplorable condition. A prisoner had teased out the real beauty and character of the dog within and the young mother immediately connected with him.

As we continued talking, I learned the young woman was always caring about others. Cards and letters from friends and co-workers were testimonies to a life well lived, said her mother. Many people referred to her engaging, welcoming smile. Her very sad parents, on the other end of this phone line connected with me, were both, along with me, summoning all we could in the cloud of grief, to heal each other.

I pieced together a biography of a special woman and mother. Surely this rubbed off on our Finn and made him so affectionate to us. And then there was his experience in the prison where he was made whole and lovingly brought to his essence as a special dog by someone who needed him as much he needed that someone. As one of the sisters put it, “Finn was a social activist before he came to us. No wonder he fell right in!”


I would have learned none of this without having mailed a letter to an unknown person whose mother suddenly became as special to me as her daughter through a dog and a letter. In your prayer, think of people who need something from you. Reflect on how this is the Gospel being enacted through you. 

My encouragement is: Reach out. Mail letters, cards, maybe flowers, gifts. Send them to people you love and even people you may not know who are on your church’s prayer list or any list you come across. Send to people you have not even met like those in a nursing home or medical center or end-of-life center.  

Swallow your pride and send to a relative who is alienated or simply off the family grid. You will be surprised.

This is the loaves and fishes in reality. The more you connect, the more Christ’s love becomes real and multiplied. Please try it and let me know what happens. Be prepared for surprises like I had. 

11 thoughts on “Reaching Out to Dilute the Loneliness

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  1. Thank you, I shared it on Facebook and love to report on all the letters I send and receive. It truly is a great way to keep in touch with those we love and reach out to those who need it most. Letters can be reread anytime we like, and the message of love touches us when we need it most. take care, Margaret – class of ’69 at Lumen and friend ever since


  2. This true story and reflection reminds me of how we are all one, all connected. Every thought, action affects others and connects us all. You gave us so many suggestions on ways we can reach out and touch one another… just like the song. Thank you for sharing this heartwarming story.


  3. Sorry, I didn’t know about Finn. Your message today is challenging and beautiful at the same time. I will share it.

    On Mon, Oct 19, 2020 at 5:46 AM In All Things Charity wrote:

    > mflannery8 posted: ” Photo credit: These are days of > extraordinary loneliness for many people. Several of my past blogs have > mentioned the kindnesses of people reaching through the fog > surrounding others to let them know they” >


  4. When I was a little girl my cousin molested me. He was the second son of a dear aunt. Naturally, I didn’t understand as our only activity together had been reading MAD magazines together and playing “Spy vs Spy.”He was fifteen. I told my mother who bravely handled the awkward family situation, however, even now I am affected. When my father died, he came to the funeral bringing back horrible memories I couldn’t contain emotionally. When he returned to Colorado, I called him to confront a long history of hurt and confusion. He broke into tears and told me it should have been him making the call not me and could I ever forgive him. We talked for a very long time. Thank God. He died two weeks ago of a sudden heart attack. I can only imagine the heavy heart that would have been mine and his, I suspect had we not spoken. It was healing. It was courageous for us both. I thank God for giving us this opportunity to reconnect and reaffirm the love we have as family.


    1. KD. A powerful story of forgiveness and connectedness. Thank you for sharing. I am happy that you both healed the experience and were spared the burden that might have haunted you both forever. S. Mary Ann


    1. Another powerful story . Amazing how Finn was able to touch so many lives. You are right. Small gestures and reaching out is so important . Thank you for reminding us all on the act of kindness through the difficult times of 2020.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. To the wonderful canon of dogs’ biographies (Lassie, A Dog of Flanders, White House dogs etc) we must add Finn’s What a life he led!


  6. Sr. Mary Ann what an incredible story. I cried reading your post about sweet Finn and his passing then this entry and tears were flowing rapidly. What a connection of love and relationships. Your Christmas letter send me to your writing. You have such a gift with words and always have. It warmed my heart as I reflected on the many conversations we had at family gatherings growing up. We loved to sit around and listen to your stories and how you always took the time for we kids and made us feel so special. So happy you shared your blog!
    ❤️ Susan (McGinty) Franskousky


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My Inner Light

Spiritual reflections through self-development, nature, meditation and dreams

Kimberly Novak, Author

Creating Gems of Inspiration - All for the Glory of God

CSJLife | All Things Vocations

with the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, St. Louis

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