A few days ago, I was asked to “celebrate” lupus, the disabling disease that I have been living with for more than 15 years. The invitation came in an email, and close on its heels came one inviting me to “celebrate celiac disease.” Before I could check my calendar, in came “celebrate spring!” and “celebrate pet adoption month!”
A quick Google search turned up even more immediate reasons for celebration, including “celebrate synonyms and antonyms.” I also could “celebrate vitamins,” or I could purchase the book, “Celebrate: A Year of Festivities for Families and Friends.”
Rather than leave my computer, where I am intent upon writing my column for Catholic News Service, and embark on a major shopping spree to find the right apparel for each of these must-do events, I declined them all and wondered, “What is celebration all about, anyway?”
Truly, “celebrate” is not a word I associate with my life with lupus, although God does bring many blessings amid the suffering. I do not have celiac disease, but I know a few who do, and I don’t see them festooning their homes with balloons (not to mention that cake is not exactly their food of choice).
I enjoy spring, as I do all of the seasons, and thank God for the pleasure of seeing nature burst forth, but celebrate it? It’s a bit of a stretch, as is any celebration that involves learning, grammar or syntax. And as for that year of celebrations? I’ll pass.
There are many things that I celebrate, including milestones, such as when I reached age 50, and lupus had not been fatal as had been feared in the years leading up. I celebrate many loved ones’ birthdays, making a special effort to let them know how very precious they are to me. I remember the passing of loved ones, too, not in a high-five type of celebration, but I remember.
To me, a true celebration is profoundly meaningful. It connects me with people I love and it marks special events. I can celebrate when a friend finishes a marathon, even if he or she comes in last place. I can celebrate a youngster, timid and halting, being able to make it through one of the readings at Mass for the first time. I don’t have to celebrate every day, but when I do, I mean it!
When my favorite team or tennis player wins a game or match, I’m happy, of course. When I hear of other good outcomes, I am glad, too. But this uplift to my day does not deeply affect the heart of me, nor does it define who I am.
But give me Easter, Christmas, Mass, where the Spirit moves and Jesus is present, and these I eagerly celebrate, time and again. We only have so much energy, so much time. All the more reason why I like to ration my revelry for those occasions that truly bring out the “Hallelujah!” in me.
Win free tickets, help support CatholicPhilly.com
CatholicPhilly.com often partners with our region's top cultural venues. During this two-week period, you can benefit by our association with The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia.
Make a donation of any amount during this period and you will receive two general admission tickets to Philadelphia's premier educational museum -- that's a $60 value.
Use our secure credit card form by clicking the link below. That will enable us to contact you so we can send the tickets, which are valid to September 2018.
Your donation helps us to provide high-quality coverage of the local Catholic communities we primarily serve, while also distributing national and world news of interest to Catholics, plus the orthodox teachings of the Catholic faith. Your gift gift of $40, $50, $100, or more will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community.
Make your donation by credit card here: