Laughter is the closest thing to the grace of God. -Karl Barth
This twinkle-eyed kid on the left is Danny. God loves the way he shines. Danny reminds me of the scripture verse from the book of Matthew, the very famous 25th chapter. “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters, you did for me.”
What makes Danny so special is how kind he is. He’s remarkably gifted with young children, and so many times I have witnessed him comforting “the littles” in his own family. Younger siblings Ryan, Maddie and Shannon simply beam in his presence. I have no doubt that’s because they are absolutely certain that he’s just crazy about them.
“To maintain a joyful family”, Pope John Paul II once said, “requires much from both the parents and the children. Each member of the family has to become, in a special way, the servant of the others.” This is the quality I most readily identify with the dimple cheeked, friendly, and affectionate Danny Hall. He is a natural born servant leader.
Danny’s family is a truly unique and stunningly beautiful one, born of the darkest kind of tragedy. When he was 8, he lost both of his parents in a act of domestic violence that breaks my heart still. His mother, Shannon, was a friend. Her sons remind me of her so very much, and I know she is looking down from above full of pride for both her incredible boys. I know she also sees how compassionate, gentle, good-hearted Danny is every darn day. His immensely loving extended family and the entire community have stayed ever at his side, which makes all the difference, for sure. He’s being raised by his aunt and uncle, Colleen and Doug Stine. I could, and chances are good that I will write about them later. He has an older brother, Connor (the biggest Auburn fan EVER), and those three little cutie-pies I mentioned earlier.
Here’s what I’d like Danny to know. I see you. I’ve noticed and so has Jesus. What you did, He saw. What you said, He heard. You might not even remember it. It was just a little thing, a part of who you are because of whose you are. It wasn’t little to Him, just like it’s not little to Ryan, or Mads, or Shan, or Moms…..or any of the people around you that you love up day after day. You are one phenomenal kid. When your smile reaches your eyes and the words come from your heart Danny, it’s a light that fills the room. Your kindness? It’s a gift from you to God. He loves you for it, and so do I!! You are a blessing to your family, to all at St. Louis de Montfort, and far beyond, kiddo.
Thank you, Danny, for helping me see God by the way you light up a room with your smile. You make me want to be kind to others, just like you!!
Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” (Luke 18:16)