I am fortunate enough to share my birthday with the feast day for one of the most recognizable saints in the Church Triumphant – Saint Patrick. That means my birthday often finds parades and parties, with many remarking how lucky I am to have such a great birthday.
Even more great is the fact that I am still here, writing this post… I was born very premature, with my weight getting down to around 1 lb 9 3/4 oz before I started packing on the ounces and pounds. The picture to the left is my mother talking to me through the isolette shortly after my arrival. I am grateful for the fact that I don’t have any significant physical or mental disability. I am thankful every day for my parents, that they are there for me. I am thankful for every day of my 34 years.
I always bristle whenever people say that I am lucky. I don’t believe in luck. I think about the other children in the NICU with me during that time, many of which never left intensive care. I’m not more lucky than them, it just wasn’t my time yet. I like to think that I have some sort of purpose left to fulfill in God’s plan for salvation.
I believe in the power of prayer, and I believe that is a large part of why I am still here now. Every year about this time, my grandparents, parents, and aunts call and often they remind me of how scared and how much they prayed for me when I was born early and fighting for my life. Thanks to good doctors, these prayers, and the grace I received at my Baptism – I am still here.
The world contains too much pain, suffering, and uncertainty in the world and there are also too few helpers. Just this week I have seen several friends of mine very ill, impoverished, depressed, and at their wits end. What I really want for my birthday this year is more helpers. The emotional toll of working in the homebound ministry can sometimes be very challenging.
So here’s what you can do for me: pray. Pray for me, pray for my ailing and homebound friends, pray for those you know that are sick and in distress. Pray for radical conversions in the hearts of your friends and family. You can do this even if you do it every day, or if you haven’t done it in awhile. It doesn’t cost a thing and it helps more than you know. Share this request around… the more prayers the better.
Second, if you can… help. Surely you know of someone sick or homebound that would appreciate a phone call or a nice card. If you know someone that is struggling with money and you can afford it, help them. If you know someone spiritually poor, reach out to them. Over the past few years, I have learned to appreciate how much small actions mean to people that are struggling. I would appreciate it very much if you remembered my birthday by helping someone in this way… but I would appreciate it even more if you made a habit of it.
Thanks to everyone that has made my life great up to this point. Hopefully, I’m just getting started.