I am grateful in so many different ways today. My heart is full. It was my birthday on Tuesday. So there was much to celebrate. My health has improved. I have incredible family and friends. Life is good.
Except, I have a few friends who are facing life threatening challenges of which my heart aches for them.
I use to teach sixth graders religious education, and a small journey in eighth grade. The very first session I would open up with, “I’m here to now help you with your adult journey to faith.” Junior high students face unique growing up challenges of shifting gears from elementary school emotions to the “OMG can’t wait till I’m in high school” emotions.
That very first class I introduced a scripture piece that I would hope they would carry with them the rest of their precious three years. “God is faithful, and he will not let you be tested beyond your strength but with your testing he will also provide the way out so that you may be able to endure it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).
In my personal journey I’ve derived comfort from these words, though I know God does not “give” me loss, pain and grief. These youngsters would face humiliation, bullying, first loves, first breakups, cattiness, loyalty, first dances, first school team competitions, the ability to join groups that mom and dad didn’t put them in – in essence, sixth grade suffering.
I am constantly reminded of the strength of this passage. I will never forget the one young girl who had Muscular Dystrophy who was getting progressively weaker. We had our sixth grade Mass and this young lady did not want to use her wheel chair or walker to stand. She wanted to stand on her own to receive communion. I have to tell you the strength of this young lady has stayed with me all of my days as she struggled to stand to receive the sacrament. I felt humbled by her presence and that God had given her to me to teach me many lessons.
My friends who are now suffering are very much like this young girl. They are using every ounce of God’s love to keep up, to fight for another day of love. God is faithful to them. He knows their boundaries and gives them strength. He also helps US see that He is in our lives constantly as we look out for and share with our friends the essences of time.
What a birthday gift.