A few days ago I was celebrating my birthday and while I was reflecting about my own journey, I realized that I am full of blessings. A few years ago, I was so insecure about what was the next step to take in my life. I had many excuses to avoid listening God’s calling. I was in the midst of distress, with my dad’s health in decline (he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease)and my own struggles. After a while, I decided to listen the voice of my best friend: Jesus Christ. I learned form him that there is not a better gift but a true and honest friendship.
Many “friends” could fail me, but the Lord has never forgotten me. Even when my mind try to tell me something different, I see challenges and difficulties as means of growth. Can we receive gifts of suffering and sorrow? probably yes, but it a matter of perspective. I had received the gifts that I want to receive, or the gifts that I really need? Most of the time, God will give you the gifts that you need instead of the gifts that you want.
Nowadays, I am still unpacking birthday gifts, I pray for all those parishioners and friends who gave a physical gift. I received some other gifts that are anonymous, but the most important gift is friendship and fellowship. For the people who gave me something for my birthday, I really appreciate it. This post is a reflection and a thank you note for those present in my mind and my prayers as for the whole community. This post is to honor those persons in my inner and outer circles that are ultimately in my prayers. May be I do not remember all of your names, but I remember your faces, the same faces I see during Mass or any other event organized inside or outside the parish.
Opening a gift is a ritual. I remember when I was a little kid. I looked forward for the Christmas season when I received more gifts. I was so excited at opening those gifts that there was a time when I tore apart one of my own gifts out of excitement. This gift was difficult to open. Some people around me wanted to help me open it. I did not want that. You do not want somebody else to open a gift for you. You want to open it by yourself. Again, as I am opening the gifts, I pray.
God’s friendship helped me to understand the dynamics of relationships and intimacy. I took my vocation as a gift from God. I take your friendship as a gift from you. Seriously, I like to talk, but even today, I am running out of words. Honestly, sometimes I do not have any words to express my gratitude to others. I am in awe when I see my life and what it was a decade or a couple of decades ago and I see it now: a life full of blessings. I have many thoughts in my mind, many topics to address in this blog, but I have just a few words to express how blessed I feel with your friendship, your prayers and your presence.
As I am keep unpacking these gifts, I ask the Lord to give me “friends that are friends at all times” (Prov 17,17). So I can keep growing in his service. I know that the Enemy is waiting for me to fall down to attack me, but I count with my friends and the prayers of the faithful. The Lord will sustain me in time of adversity (Psalm 55,22). Probably, I will keep unpacking gifts every single day.