“Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.” Romans 15:7
Day 24 of 365. Take a look at that beautiful gal on the right. That’s my friend Claudine. A couple of years ago or so, my youngest son began to play on a baseball team with some boys from Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. Changing teams is a bummer for parents, because a gal gets to know the other baseball moms pretty well over time and frankly, I liked my friends over there on the “Orange” squad. As boys will do, Zach slid into his role over at 1st base for the Raiders just fine, taking his time to get to know the other guys. However, aside from the embarrassingly loud baseball socks this team seemed to favor, his experience seemed to me to be fairly pleasant. His transition was easy.
I’m not too shabby at meeting new folks, so I made an attempt to feign like I’m a slightly lovelier person than I really am, and I started getting friendly with some of the other parents. I find that grandparents are easy targets with glad handing, if you ever find yourself lonely at a random ballpark, by the way.
Here’s the rub. This group of folks were clearly long time friends whose kids went to school together and whose families have grown together in faith over the years. It can be tough to nudge in without being intrusive. Enter Claudine Kreiner. She’s affable, sweet and helpful. Also she’s incredibly welcoming. Claudine’s kindness and authenticity just ooze from her. Her warmth and beautiful smile drew me in. I began to watch Claudine. Does that make me a creepy stalker? Maybe. I like to think of myself more just a people watcher.
Claudine and her husband, Ryan along with their gaggle of boys soon started showing up nearby at mass. They are all truly impressive young men who certainly are blessed with an amazing mom. I’d see her interacting with her nieces, her sister, her sons, and her mom. I eyed her giggling with friends at high school games. The picture became clear quickly. Claudine is a grace-filled woman. The warmth she shows those around her make her the face of Christ to all with whom she comes in contact. She’s gracious, engaging and kind. I a world STARVING for positivity and kindness, she’s a treasure without price.
Did you ever just meet someone and hope that someday you would have the chance to get to know them better? That’s how I feel about Claudine. Until then, her faithful witness and warm welcoming example remain a TOTAL BLESSING and they inspire me to want to be like Claudine!