August 26, 2010 is the one hundredth anniversary of Mother Theresa’s birthday. Coincidentally, August 26 is also my sister’s birthday, which is just one reason I remember Mother Theresa’s birthday each year. Like most people, I am inspired by the way Mother Theresa lived her life to help others. Those who know me well, know that this is a long time passion of mine. I feel that we all have a responsibility to help our fellow human beings through life’s struggles. Without each other, there is truly no point in life. We are all here, in one capacity or another, to serve a purpose in the lives of others. Mother Theresa took her purpose seriously.
When I first heard about Mother Theresa, I was a young child attending Catholic grade school in upstate NY. I was in awe of the sisters there who had dedicated their lives to serving their God. Even though I have since adopted other views, I remain respectful of this pious lifestyle and the faith behind it. The Catholic nuns who taught me in grade school had nothing but the utmost respect for Mother Theresa. They aspired to emulate her in every way possible. To me, it was incredible that these devoted women were walking in the shadow of another. If they could learn from Mother Theresa, so could I.
As I grew, I learned more and more about Mother Theresa and the good work she did, unselfishly for the less fortunate. I think what impressed me most about her was her humility. This truly great woman put on no airs and made many sacrifices for others. She traveled with very few possessions, always leaving people richer for her presence. I remember hearing many times how Mother Theresa gave her own food to help the hungry or stopped on the street to assist those left for dead in third world countries. She was a symbol of hope for the humanity of mankind in my eyes. I admired her greatly.
In 1979, Mother Theresa had a crisis of faith. She was despondent. She had lost her sense of purpose. She felt her cause was a hopeless one. Mother Theresa began to doubt the existence of her God. You would think my admiration for Mother Theresa would have faltered. The opposite was true. If possible, I admired her even more for admitting that she was a fallible human being. Like everyone else, she was subject to insecurities and vulnerabilities. When she conquered her moment of doubt, I felt her triumph and vowed always to travel a focused path in life.
I have no doubt that Mother Theresa is, as they say, up in heaven, with her God, smiling down at the world of today. Yes, we have poverty, we have hunger, we have crime and injustice. People are struggling to survive in a world gone mad. Still, Mother Theresa knows, as she always did, that just one person can make a difference in this world. So to celebrate Mother Theresa’s 100th birthday, lets all help someone as they struggle through this weary life. No, you are not Mother Theresa, but every person has something to share with the world. What gift will you give Mother Theresa on her birthday?