An Inspiring Half Century
Donna just reached a birthday which often results in those of us who have experienced it declaring: “That can’t be right, I don’t feel that old!” So, we had a wonderful group of family and friends over last weekend to celebrate the occasion. A few weeks ago, I began to collect some old photos for the usual poster board of memories. When the collection of photographs and souvenirs outgrew my office work space, I knew I’d need many more poster boards.
My wife’s history kept me enthralled for hours at a time. I travelled with her to Russia as she ran in the Moscow Marathon and 10K Race during the waning days of the Soviet Union. I witnessed her cliff diving in the Greek Isles. I saw her receive the Gold Award, Girl Scouting’s highest honor, and I read the congratulatory letter President Reagan sent her on the occasion. I was there as she was sworn in as president of the local Junior Chamber of Commerce, and I attended many charitable and civic events she led as a result. The Jay-Cee photos would also suggest Donna threw a few great parties over the years, as well!
There were many more examples of her faith, family, and friendships which were on display for all to see. These were the evidence of the treasures of a life well lived. I knew I was privileged to share them. Of course, I spent so much time enjoying the memorabilia, I scrambled the last few hours before the party to get it all on poster boards and displays throughout the house. I think our guests were as inspired as I was by the record of Donna’s many talents and accomplishments.
“Coincidences are spiritual puns,” so says G.K. Chesterton. The Gospel passage this past Sunday was the parable of the talents. That was the thought which remained with me as I travelled through Donna’s history. Nothing was lost or buried. She will not likely suffer the regrets of things left undone.
Teddy Roosevelt said in his 1910 speech Citizenship in a Republic: “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
Donna continues to multiply our Lord’s investment in her – many times over. God must indeed enjoy puns. The first reading at that same Mass began, “When a man finds a worthy wife, her value is far beyond pearls.” That reading from Proverbs ends, “…let her works praise her at the city gates.” Consider it done.