Last month I celebrated my 18th birthday. But turning the big one-eight wasn’t the only thing that made this past birthday so special. It was also the fact that my birthday landed on a Sunday this year. I spent a good amount of time thinking about this one night last month, as I held one of our hens and watched fireflies glow in the dusk, on a perfect early July night.
Celebrating my birthday on a Sunday might not seem like much. But for me, it means the world. You see, the last time I celebrated a birthday on a Sunday was when I was 11. It had been a perfect morning. I ate pancakes for breakfast. It was sunny out. I went to church that morning. And I altar served alongside one of ‘my priests’. As I left the church parking lot with my family, I remember thinking to myself, “I hope the next time my birthday is on a Sunday, it makes me as happy as I am now. And I hope its because my faith is still important to me.”
I am so, so, SO glad that the wish of 11-year-old-me came true.
Because when Sunday rolled around for my 18th birthday, it was a perfect morning. I ate pancakes for breakfast. It was sunny out. I went to church that morning. And I altar served alongside of that same priest. Most importantly, my faith is stronger than ever. It couldn’t have been just a coincidence that it all worked out that way. The circumstances were almost replicated. Almost…
But it was even better. This time, I was in a new church building, because my parish built a new church. This time, my siblings served with me. This time, I sat in the sacristy for almost 30 minutes after Mass, laughing as two of ‘my priests’ bantered with me and with each other. This time, most importantly, I saw that even though some things change, others are constant. I am on the brink of some humongous changes in my life. Things are going to change. But others will be constant. One of those constants will be my faith, which I will bring with me to the campus and chapel at college. And I will always be able to come home to my family, and my parish. It’s not a switch.
It’s an expansion, that I know God is leading me towards.
And simply because of that reason, everything will be OK.