Saturday, April 27, 2013

How to celebrate a birthday

Today is my birthday. Facebook has told the world, so there's no point in trying to keep it secret. Everyone has his or her own way to celebrate the day, here are my thoughts.

It doesn't make sense to me to celebrate it as if I accomplished something. This is the anniversary of a gift--the gift of life. (Actually, a day roughly nine months earlier, so for me sometime in July--but I never had the brass to get an exact date from my parents.)

In any case, this is a day for gratitude.

Of course, my thoughts turn immediately to my parents. When I was growing up, we had a custom. On our birthday, we found mom and wished her a happy mother's day. Parents, may I suggest such a ritual for your families? It taught me, at any rate, to recognize that my life is a gift to me.

Upon further reflection, naturally, I realize it's also father's day; and in later years, after my mom had left this life, I would call my dad. On my birthday each year, since both are gone, there's a little sadness that I can't call them anymore. So I talk to them in prayer, and I look forward to seeing them again. I remember them at Mass, more than just one day--but this day in particular.

It didn't take me long to notice I was number seven; and the last of the children in my family. It wasn't hard for me to notice, even 40 years ago that most families didn't have that many children. If my parents had elected to have the "usual number" of children, that wouldn't have included me.

So it isn't much of a leap for me to say, contraception and abortion mean I never exist. It makes it personal.

I'm grateful for all the kind wishes and the love they represent. I hope I can repay it adequately.

For me, a birthday isn't about me; it's about what God has done through me, through others. A day to be thankful.

Thank you mom and dad! Thank you Heavenly Father.


phil dunton said...

Happy Birthday Father Fox. Last year, you were in McLean, VA and we celebrated with coffee in the Upper Room. Phil Dunton, St. John Parish, McLean, VA

Fr Martin Fox said...

I remember! Thanks for saying hi!

I'd love to come back and visit, soon, but I don't know when.

David Oatney said...

Father, I hope you had a Happy Birthday, and thank you for your prayerful service to the Church.