Life is full of milestones. This year my family has reached many. In January, my grandmother turned 90, my mother turned 70, and my husband turned 40. Last month my parents celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary, and today, I celebrate my 40th birthday.
No longer able to hide the subtle wrinkles and brown spots appearing on my skin, I succumb to the reality that middle age has come. The feeling of being on the other side of the hill already hit me a few years back when gray hairs moved in, and energy moved out. In some ways, I feel wiser, and in other ways, I feel like I’m still a child.
But whether it’s an anniversary or a birthday or another great achievement, my wish to celebrate is the same. I am so grateful for the gift of life, family, and faith. These milestones remind me to turn my heart towards God, the giver of all good gifts.
Today’s readings are full of gloom and doom. People called to weep, fast and put on sackcloth in the First Reading and Jesus talking about divided kingdoms, unclean spirits, and demons in the Gospel. Yet the Psalm offers a breath of fresh air:
I will give thanks to you, O LORD, with all my heart;
I will declare all your wondrous deeds.
I will be glad and exult in you;
I will sing praise to your name, Most High.
This Psalm reminds us that amid calamity and evil, chaos and sadness, God is still present. When we take a moment to refocus and turn our hearts to Him, we are able to gain a fresh perspective and rejoice once again.
The saint of the day, Pope John XXIII, was known for his wit, his sense of humor, and his constant smile. Although he lived through various hardships, such as World War II and the Cuban missile crises, he refused to lose heart. He criticized “prophets of doom” who “see nothing but prevarication and ruin” and chose the “medicine of mercy” instead.
We all know the kind of world we live in. We all know we can’t turn back time. We all know that age will come upon us. But we have a choice in how we accept it. We can allow ourselves to be swallowed up in the gloom and doom, or we can choose to focus on God’s infinite mercy instead and give thanks to Him with all our hearts.
Tami grew up in Western Michigan, a middle child in a large Catholic family. She spent early young adulthood as a missionary in Mexico, studying theology and philosophy, then worked and traveled extensively before finishing her Bachelor’s Degree in Western Kentucky. She loves tackling home improvement projects, finding fun ways to keep her four boys occupied, quiet conversation with the hubby and finding unique ways to love. She works at Diocesan, is a guest blogger on CatholicMom.com and BlessedIsShe.net, runs her own blog at https://togetherandalways.wordpress.com and has been doing Spanish translations on the side for almost 20 years.