As we grow older, we get to a point where we realize that if we want to maintain our sanity, we must accept each new challenge that we face as an opportunity for growth. We learn that each time we conquer a new challenge, there’s always going to be a new and greater challenge that we will have to deal with in the future. While each new challenge is always personal in nature, it also sometimes includes one or more of our family members or friends.
About five years ago, while I was driving to my office, I came upon some construction on Interstate 74. There were several vehicles that were stopped in front of me. They were backed up for several blocks. When I began slowing down, I saw that the exit ramp to get into downtown Peoria was about a block away and that the shoulder on the right side of the roadway was clear.
She was born on September 5, 1926, in Peoria, Illinois. Her name was Phyllis E. Houlihan. Eighteen years after her birth, she entered the convent of the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet (CSJ). Five years later, she made her final profession of faith as Sister Roberta Cecile Houlihan.
After I started my law practice in January 1983, one of my first clients was Donna Schmidt. I had met Donna several years earlier when my mom introduced me to her. I don’t remember where we were introduced, but I do remember that it was at a Catholic religious event. Donna was a year younger than my mom. They had known each other since they were teenagers, when they both attended the same high school — the Academy of Our Lady, in Peoria, Illinois.
We recently learned that a newly discovered virus — the “Coronavirus” — was spreading in China. It didn’t take long before other countries began reporting that some of their citizens had been infected with the virus. When I first read about the virus, the thought occurred to me that it would be a good idea to order a box of face masks, just in case the virus got out of control.
I see him at least once a week walking on the side of the road. He’s an elderly man who appears to be in his 80s. I don’t know his name. For now, I’ll call him Wilbur. I’ve never met Wilbur, but last week when I saw him walking, I had the urge to pull over, introduce myself, and ask him a few questions. But I didn’t follow through on my urge. As usual, I passed by him and continued driving.
I usually attend daily Mass at Sacred Heart Church in downtown Peoria. The church is about three blocks away from my office, so I ordinarily walk to Mass every day. On most days, Georgette joins me at Mass, and we’re able to have lunch together after Mass about once a week. It’s a great way for us to break up our day, while receiving the spiritual boost that we need to adequately handle all the issues and problems that come up in our lives.