For a variety of reasons (when you reach almost 86 years of age there are always lots of reasons) I was hospitalized on December 21, 2013. When I had recovered to the point where I could leave the hospital, I was moved to a rehab facility within “Riderwood Village” the retirement community where my wife Pat and I live, just outside of Washington D.C. I am now back in my apartment, but am still receiving treatment on an outpatient basis.
While illness is never easy, this experience, and a few others linked closely in time, have left me, more than anything, most grateful. I am grateful for the wonderful goodness, competence, and patience of my occupational and physical therapists—both in the rehab facility and those who later came to our home. I am grateful for my medical insurance. I am grateful that the rehab facility is within my “village” and that I can get there without ever having to go into the cold outdoors. I am most grateful to my wife, who pushes me in a wheel chair from our apartment through the many covered walkways to the rehab facility—a distance of almost one mile! That is quite a trip to make, day after day.
While I was gradually regaining my ability to walk without any assistance beyond my walker, the great “March for Life” took place on Wednesday, January 22, one of the coldest day that the Washington D. C, area has ever experienced. Despite the frigid weather, over one-and-a-half million people came from all over the country. I was especially overjoyed by this because the new “Nellie Grey,” Jean Monahan, is a former student of mine, and she did an absolutely fantastic job in organizing the great speakers who addressed this huge assembly and then leading all of them on their march down Constitution Avenue to the steps of the Supreme Court. It was magnificent. I wish that I could have been among the marchers. Perhaps next year.
Despite our absence, my wife Pat and I are going to ask “Runners for Life” to send us two of their T-shirts so that we can wear them every day in Riderwood Village, whose residents comprise a highly-educated group of people, too many of whom, unfortunately, are not pro-life. Much work remains to be done.
Finally, I am also most happy and grateful that one of my granddaughters, Katie May, an eighth-grade student at St. Elizabeth’s parish, was awarded a prize at a Mass celebrated at Mount Calvary Church by Cardinal Wuerl. Katie’s reflection on Martin Luther King’s faith-filled, nonviolent, truly-Christian love for all persons was deemed the best essay written by a student at Catholic parochial schools.
While there is much that would try to convince us otherwise, there is even more to assure us with hope and confidence that the one and only God, who sent us His only-begotten Son to save us by really becoming one of us—a being of body and soul, flesh and blood—will continue to cherish us and enable us, through our living union with Jesus, the carpenter’s son, to be the persons He wants us to be: His adopted children, and members of the divine family of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.