It was June 30th in the 1960s and in a couple of days I would be turning thirty. I was in a foreign country to which I was appointed by my Superiors after ordination in ’59 and which was to become my home for 16 years when I returned home to care for my my ill mother.
I was quite insecure about entering a new decade of my life and feared that the best years were now behind me.
On one morning of the week I would go to the gym in the town for a workout before beginning my daily work at 7.30am. There I would see Jorge and Alejandro at the gym. They were in their 70s and in terrific shape. As I greeted them on this particular morning, Jorge noticed I wasn’t full of my usual vitality and fun and asked if everything was ok back home in Ireland. I told him mom and dad were fine, but I was feeling anxious about turning thirty. I wondered, at that moment, how I would look back on my life if ever I was to reach their great age, so I asked him, “What was the best time of your life, Jorge?”
Without hesitation, he replied, “Well, young man let me put it this way: “When I was a child and everything was taken care of for me, and I and my siblings were loved by our parents, THAT was the best time of my life.”
“Then I went to school and College, studied hard and graduated with an honours degree, THAT was the best time of my life”
“When I got my first job, succeeded and got promotion and a future looking rosy, THAT was the best time of my life.”
“ Then that special time when I asked on bended knee the love of my life if she would be my wife, and she said YES. THAT was surely the best time of my life.”
“When my wife I and our two children decided to emigrate and came to this country in which you and I now live and work, THAT was the best time of my life.”
AND NOW, Vicente, I am seventy-four years old. I have my health, my faith, my family. I feel good and I am in love with my wife just as I was when we first met and I proposed and she said YES,, THIS, my friend, is the best time of my life.
So, dear friends, as an 81+ year old myself now and still, thank God, working four days a week, I still remember those wonderful words of Jorge and if I may say with some confidence, experience and the ups and downs of 50 years, …., please remember that whether it’s yesterday, last week, last month or a day last year or fifty years ago, each day has been the best time of my life., and, hopefully, in your lives also.
And, dear friends, the days the Lord will bless us with in the coming years, will, God willing, be the best times of our lives too. So live for today and prepare for tomorrow’s new adventures and challenges which surely will come our way……enjoy the journey of life and may God accompany you on the road as he did with the two disciples on the road to Emmaus.
God bless you all and may the joys of Spring brighten our lives as we journey on.
Fr. Vincent Kelly sac.