Growing up, my father called me a “weirdo magnet.” He maintained that any weirdo within a fifty-mile radius would lock onto me and enter my world. I often thought this was ironic because my father was so unusual himself, my little sister once pleaded with him at a PTA meeting to “Please, just be normal!” But to his point, don’t the odd ducks and lost souls also deserve compassion and inclusion? Why shouldn’t we let them into our orbit? How is it that a species exploding under the weight of its own population growth can feel so isolated and alone? It’s because we live in a selfish and competitive world. Most people are out for themselves and our lack of compassion is palpable, not just for the weirdoes, but for so many others as well. So how do we love the unlovely? How do we listen to the same person tell the same story for the umpteenth time without rolling our eyes? How do we come alongside the fallen when they lack the strength to lift up their own heads? How do we graciously deal with the idiosyncrasies of others in a way that makes them feel part of our world? We have to see them. We have to know them. We have to acknowledge them. We have to choose to interact with and value them. We are either in service to humanity or we aren’t. When I was in the military I did not get to chose who I wanted to help and who I didn’t. We are either all in it together with the binding Golden Rule or we aren’t. Now you may say, wait a minute, Tracey, shouldn’t we be careful about who we give our time, affection, and resources to? After all, you’ve written many blogs and given numerous speeches about cutting out the negative, toxic time-sucks which tend to clog up our lives. I do think there is a difference. Weirdoes aren’t evil, they’re just weird. And variety is the spice of life. Give a bad person an inch and they’ll take a mile; Give a weirdo an inch and they’ll give a smile! So here’s to my fellow weirdo magnets: May you continue to attract them mightily!