I woke up early this morning and biked up the mountain of Busay. I came back to the Holy Family Retreat House by 7 am and after a quick shower and breakfast joined the priests and parish workers for morning prayer. After the prayer everyone started singing: happy birthday to you. I also received some text messages from friends and my sisters.
I am celebrating my 52nd birthday here in Cebu on the third day of our "colloquium" conference for Redemptorist priests and lay workers involved in parish, church and retreat ministry. I am one of the facilitators and organizers of this event.
Before noon, I walked to the nearby Redemptoristine monastery and had lunch with the nuns. I had actually invited myself when I met them after mass yesterday. They all kissed my cheek when I entered the convent. We had a videoke-singing session after lunch and I sang 4 songs including Moon River, Love Me Tender, Annie's Song and If. I went down later to Bo's coffee shop. While drinking my capuccino, I remembered the time when I was in a bar in Rome drinking cappucino alone on my 40th birthday and no one knew it was my birthday so I didn't receive any greeting or kiss - that was may loneliest birthday. I came back to the Retreat House in time for the evening mass. After dinner, I went out for pizza with the Davao Redemptorists and the parish staff.
I am looking forward to some belated birthday celebration with friends when I go back to Davao this Sunday.
I am full of gratitude for the gift of life that the Lord has given me, and for the gift of friends who remember me today.
Funny, I am 52 yet I really don't feel that old. The way I feel today, is the same way I felt 25 years ago. Maybe, I feel wiser but not older. I hope I will still be able to celebrate my 100th birthday.