Monday, July 14, 2008
The Phoebe Effect
Today is our daughter Phoebe’s 20th birthday. She was born during the summer between my middler (second) and senior year in seminary, the youngest of three girls and the joy of a whole community. At the church where I served as a seminarian, she went with me to meetings, and as a student, she often went with me to class. She has been dragged around to many places since, and has witnessed the best and worst of what the church can do by going with her mom to so many places. After she came home from the hospital, we were out walking and ran in to my Greek professor. He asked her name and when I told him her name he said, “Radiance!” in a loud triumphant voice. She is radiant. Despite all we have inflicted on this child, she remains bubbly and positive with a creative imagination and a wicked sense of humor. She has that effect on people, that despite the circumstances she can fins ways to laugh, imagine and to dream.
I know I have been blessed by our daughters. They are all wonderful and caring human beings who laugh and sing despite what life dishes out. My older two daughters got to grow up as young children at least, before their Mom was a priest and bishop. They had some private life – afterwards they had little. Phoebe has had to be a little girl growing up with a mother as a bishop, with a mom who was sometimes far away. Throughout it all she has remained radiant. Recently a local paper had her photo from a graduation party. Her name under the photo was listed not as Phoebe Gallagher but as Phoebe Rules, a name which has become her trademark around town. The Phoebe effect – a beautiful, caring person whose radiance can’t help but draw others to her, and to bring light and laughter in their lives.
May she have a wonderful day today, and may all of us give thanks for all the children and folks in our lives who bring light into darkness and laughter amidst anxiety. I have been especially blessed with this wonderful child. But we each can know God’s love and blessings in our lives through the people that are gifts around us. May our lives be made radiant today – the Phoebe effect.