from an article originally posted October 30, 2014…
Last night I had the honor of being recognized at the Bishop’s Respect Life Dinner. My dear friend Caia Hoskins has been my champion in life, in my writing, in my sharing of the story that suffering is not a mistake. She loves the unborn babies in our community and is a passionate advocate for life. I have the great privilege of doing life with this passionate woman. Her beautiful daughters provided a wonderful start to the evening with their gift of music. Bishop Michael J. Sheridan was the host of the evening. I met his lovely assistant Esperanza—she is the first Esperanza I have known, and her beauty matches her name, and her lovely husband Mark is a deacon in the Catholic church and helped me to appreciate and understand what I do not know. I asked crazy impertinent questions all through dinner like, Do people kiss his ring? He giggled at some of my questions but never made me feel foolish. You all know me well enough to know I am gifted at saying the wrong thing at the wrong time. Mark and Esperanza put me at ease, and the night was simply a delight.
Last night I was able to share a bit of my story with a room full of people committed to life from the preborn to last breath. The room was full of individuals committed to life. My brother was my escort evening, and we simply had a delightful time together. We met new friends, and laughed and learned so much from each speaker. It was humbling to be invited to share in such an important event. Father Bill Carmody was tendered to my story as he watched his own mother fight for each breath as she also battled cancer when he was a young man of 16. He takes very personally my fight for each moment, and was such a beautiful champion last night. I loved meeting him and his joyful and passionate love for life. I feel like I’m laughing in every picture from the evening—the love in the room was obvious.
I left the evening tired with a full heart. I enjoyed the company of my table and met many of you. It is a great gift to meet those of you in our community committed to life. Not simply at a dinner, but in the arduous daily living. People who enter the lives of others, giving value to their living and partnering in our community to care for the brokenhearted and lonely. It was a night of celebrating life, supporting love, and raising high the calling of Jesus and place value on all of His creation. It was a beautiful evening.
The final speaker spoke of Life Network here in town that is committed to educating students, not simply on abstinence, but also on their personal value and boundaries in dating. The work of David Galvan and Life Network and their tireless commitment to teaching value to our community is stunning. It was such a great honor to meet him and hear about Life Network.
I left the evening so encouraged. Encouraged and challenged. How do I support life—not simply live my days? How do I love the suffering in our community? How can I better share the value of today? How can I help another understand their value? Certainly I have this place, but my life and story overlaps with others in many contexts. It’s my great and high calling to look in the face of each of you and thank you for your life, for the beautiful creation that is YOU. To tell you how much YOU matter. Your life, your love, your story matters. I will always treasure last night. It was a gift. But I’m not simply going to place the gift I gained from last night in a closet; I have been given the bright light of Jesus that I GET to share each moment, each breath I’m given to breathe? Won’t you join me?