Do not think that love, in order to be genuine, has to be extraordinary. What we need is to love without getting tired.

Mother Teresa is being canonized today and oddly enough, on my birthday. When I heard today was the day, I started to think about the importance of her life in mine. I’ve not espoused any “religion” in this blog, but I suppose it’s clear that I “believe” in something … in fate, the greater good, something bigger than me.  Yet, what does believing do for me?  Would I live the same life if I didn’t believe?

I’ve had my share of difficult times.  Doubts about my path, direction, focus, choices. I’ve wondered why I’ve had to go through certain trials with certain people. Over the years, however, I’ve learned to let go and direct my eyes forward, rather than backward.

In William Reiad’s book, The Letters, I found that our new saint was just like us – filled with questions, doubts and fears: How can there be a g-d with the incredible pain and suffering in the world?  How is it that we are fortunate enough to be born here, with freedom, with water, with the ability to learn, grow and share, while others are not?  How can we give enough to solve any problems?

Yet, rather than focus on her doubts, she did what we all should do — use our doubts to drive us.  She focused on persevering, rather than her questions and looking backwards.  Unfortunately, we get hung up on the questions and looking backwards.

Friends, true kindness and compassion will come from any direction except backward.

Four years ago, I changed my birthday to a gift day.  On my birthday I give gifts –  – to my friends, to my kids, to strangers, to anyone I can.  It’s my way of celebrating.  It’s my reminder that giving is how I want to spend my year and my life.

Mother Teresa’s message is simple: Kindness can have a tremendous impact on a person’s suffering.  These don’t need to be big acts of kindness.  They don’t have to happen every day.  But, let’s be honest – what do we remember about people once they’re gone?  Their acts of kindness, grace and compassion. That’s what made her Mother Teresa.  That’s what’s so powerful about her legacy.  I know that’s how we want to live our collective lives.

So allow me to leave you with two of my favorite Mother Teresa quotes.  I say we try to live them every day.  XO

It is easy to love the people far away. It is not always easy to love those close to us. It is easier to give a cup of rice to relieve hunger than to relieve the loneliness and pain of someone unloved in our own home. Bring love into your home for this is where our love for each other must start.

I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love.