If you pass me in the hall at the Pastoral Center and we make eye contact, I’ll crack a smile. If we don’t make eye contact, I will ignore you. This is one of my more serious flaws.

Here’s the secret — I’m afraid. I’m afraid that you won’t say ‘Hi’ back. I’m afraid that you won’t remember me. I’m afraid you’re too busy to be bothered by me. I’m afraid of you.

I know the pain this kind of action can cause. I experience it regularly myself.

“Why didn’t [insert name here] say hi to me? I met him last week.”

“Why did [insert name here] ignore me in the hall? I thought we had a good conversation yesterday.”

The anxiety pushes me deeper into my shell.

The answer to this problem comes from my fathers, both in Heaven and on Earth.

“People want to be acknowledged,” my Dad often has said. (See Dad — I listen.) He greets every person with a smile and a handshake. That seems an insane amount of courage to me. I know my father in Heaven, however, would agree with my father on Earth. After all, story after story in the New Testament recounts tales of Jesus acknowledging others, from the woman at the well to Zaccheus in the tree.

Here’s to me and you and anyone else who needs encouraging.

“Seeking the face of God in everything, everyone, all the time, and his hand in every happening; this is what it means to be contemplative in the heart of the world,” wrote St. Teresa of Kolkata in her book “In the Heart of the World.”