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Archive for December 22nd, 2020

So it’s your birthday today!

Yes, I ended that sentence with an exclamation mark, even though birthdays have never been something to celebrate in your mind.

I remember the first time I celebrated your birthday with you, your mood would have indicated that you would rather do just about anything except acknowledge you were turning a year older … you were twenty-three.

Though birthdays are not something you wish to celebrate, you are worthy of celebration.

Your roles in life include being a son, a husband, a father but there is one area of your life that I have seen this year (and every year before) that makes my admiration for you grow exponentially.

I have come home from work many days to the awareness that you are having a FaceTime conversation with someone, usually an older person who you once worked with/for, whose home you once lived, or knew somehow in the past. Or it might be a call with that guy who is a security guard at a local shopping strip mall, or the elderly man who you met at the barber. As Covid has snuck into the senior’s home where you work as a chaplain, preventing you from doing your work onsite, you have spent countless hours making phone calls to the residents, making contact by voice and heart, being received with happy excitement as well as teary thankfulness.

And each time I overhear your conversations, my heart is reminded of yours.

Your words speak love, encouragement and hope. Your listening speaks even greater volumes. You remind these people that they are still worthy of one’s time and attention, that they are still alive, that the breath of … not just life, but living and purpose is great within them. And through it all, you are the whisper into their souls that they are a valuable child of God …

A few weeks ago your phone rang, just after we climbed, weary-eyed, into bed. It was that English gentleman you’d met at the barber. He was calling to see if you’d heard if the lady barber (who, herself, is seventy-something) you share is still working. Though exhausted, my attention was fixed on the conversation between you and he. You discussed the barber situation, British television programs, historical events … both of you speaking and listening in turn. It was obvious that he was not eager to hang up, to go back to his silent apartment and you did not rush, but continued the conversation joyfully.

And I lie there, silently beaming with pride in how you gave this man the gift of being valued, being seen, being heard.

This is your gift, your greatest calling, giving attention to those who so easily get pushed aside, forgotten.

Now, today, as we celebrate your taking another turn around the sun, I hope you see the value in every breath you take. I hope you are able to receive attention directed to you. That you feel and know that you you are alive and that the breath of … not just life, but living and purpose is great within you.

May you hear the whisper into you soul that you are worth celebrating!

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