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We were at a party and with us was Fr. Kennedy who was from India and staying in LA temporarily for further studies. After the prayers, mass and birthday party, people began to leave and as they were leaving, some would go by Fr. Kennedy to beg for his blessings for their particular intention. Many of them wanted to pray for people who were ill. Then my friend in her 70s who I will call Vivian, approached Father in all seriousness saying, “Father, bless me too for I am ill!”

I thought I just didn’t hear it right and Tita Vi repeated it again—“I am ill. Me and my husband.”

‘OMG, I thought, I have been with her all this time and she never disclosed to me that she was ill!’

‘Tita Vi,’ I asked, ‘you never told me that you were ill! Is it serious…cancer? What?’

Tita Vi looked my way and quickly retorted, “My husband and I are getting weaker—we are getting old!”

In my relief, I almost fell off my chair laughing, “Tita Vi—getting old is not an illness! It’s a developmental stage!’

Fr. Kennedy already halfway through blessing her forehead, chuckled and said, ‘I agree, aging is not an illness, it is a developmental stage!’

This little episode reminds me not to be ever embarrassed for growing one more year older on my birthday! Especially when we reach major age milestones like the big 50, 60, or 70 we have to remind ourselves, “Aging is not an illness, it’s a developmental stage. It’s not something to be embarrassed about but something to celebrate and it’s a pleasure and honor to reach those ages!

— Lillibeth Navarro

October 20, 2015

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