Today, August 28th, is Elizabeth Seton's birthday, and many of us are celebrating her! As I reflect on and celebrate her, I am reminded of all the many people in our lives who are and who were important to us. Some are with us today, and many have gone before us. When I think of celebrating them I think of not only birthdays, but I was reminded of baptisms, weddings, anniversary's, sacraments, deaths, vows, etc. When we gather to celebrate these things, it is not an isolated event that we celebrate, but rather a life.
Recently I had the opportunity to celebrate my niece's 16th birthday. We gathered at a restaurant, and for whatever reason, as more and more gathered many were on their phones, talking or texting.
I said "Let's put our phones away. We have such limited time that we are together; let's be together."
I actually surprised myself that I said it. My nieces, nephews, brothers and sisters looked at me, and I said, "I'm serious. I think we really should do this."
Everyone put them away. On my way driving home, I thought about how great it was that everyone did (myself included). We actually talked and listened and were attentive to one another. I truly
felt the gift of presence and was grateful to have experienced that. I have been reflecting for days since then on how important the gift of presence and the gift of the moment are. Our phones, our computers, etc., can be a great gift to us, but they also can be a hindrance to our gift of presence.
My reflection reminded me how important it is to celebrate life. Every day should be celebrated! Each day that we wake up and have a new day, one to give thanks and praise to God and be of service to others, is a day to celebrate. The people in our lives should be celebrated, not only on special occasions. It truly is a gift from God to have family, friends, community members, and others in our lives. Elizabeth Seton deeply treasured all of the relationships in her life.
On this, Elizabeth's birthday, take time to think of who those people are and have been important to you; take time to celebrate them and the life they have given to you and the life you give to them. Whether they are here with us today or have gone before us, they are a blessing.
Take time to celebrate life and enjoy the memories. If we all do this, I think Elizabeth will find it to be a most excellent birthday gift!