By far, this is the saddest and yet the most meaningful birthday I have ever had.
It was a Friday night, the 21st of November. I just got back to our office from a dinner date with my college friends when my Mom filled me in with bad news. My two-year-old niece was diagnosed with a malignant tumor. Sacrococcygeal Teratoma, they said. I can’t help but cry. She’s just two years old!!!!! How could that happen to her??? I was screaming and cursing inside. I don’t know what to do. I feel so hopeless, so helpless. I did not tell it to any of my friends. I bottled up all the emotions raging inside me. Sullen, disoriented and alone, I took a bus ride going home.
During the ride, I was holding back tears but my mind was racing. How can I be so ungrateful with the life given me? Why am I wasting it on trivial matters? How can I be so nonchalant to life, to everything around me? Around the world, there are people — young, innocent people battling cancer, living in the midst of war and facing impossible situations and here I am, brooding over petty concerns, self-centered anxieties and unrequited love!
Fast forward to Sunday, my natal day. Sure, I am thankful for all the family and friends who remembered to greet me. But the truth is, I feel so empty inside. Despite reading so many books about life and its purpose, what has happened to me? I feel like I don’t have a purpose. No, erase that. I feel like I am not serving my purpose. It’s really painful.
For a long time now, for some reason, I have been dodging going to Church. (I think I would need another post to explain why, so I would just leave it like that.) But my Mom told me that I should hear the mass because it’s my birthday and it is right to give thanks.
It was already noon when I was able to collect my lazy self to go to the Church. I was terrible during the mass. I cannot hold back tears hearing the young man sing the responsorial psalm! I was just too lucky that the people sitting beside me at both sides have their family members with them. I am certain no one noticed me. And then came the homily of the priest. His words struck me. He said that in the end, we are not to be judged by how much possessions or riches we have accumulated nor how many accomplishments we have had in this life.
God will not ask how much we have gained but rather how much we have given away.
We will be judged by “I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger and you invited Me in; naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me.”
That night, my Mom and I visited my niece.
I know it’s such a small, simple gesture. But it made me realize that my life has a purpose. I just have to open not just my eyes but my heart as well. Today, I fervently ask for God’s wisdom and guidance. How can I live my life purpose? How can God use me for His children? I know I cannot do it alone. I am powerless, but I am willing.
Dear Lord God, I open my heart to you. Help me fulfill my purpose.