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.
In a time of crisis CatholicPhilly.com keeps the information flowing
During the current coronavirus crisis, you can help CatholicPhilly.com deliver the kind of news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live ― every day.
Budgets are tight at this time, and CatholicPhilly's is no different than those of most families. We make sure your donation in any amount will go a long way toward continuing our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community.
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103