Luke Francis: COVID Birthday

August 12, 2020

By Luke Francis

I recently moved to Oviedo in May to be closer to work, and am living on my own for the first time due to my parents’ move back home to California. I also have Asperger’s Syndrome, which means I am mildly autistic. I work at the Central Florida Expressway Authority as a data entry clerk. Some of my favorite things include watching movies, playing guitar, and going to theme parks. 

I recently celebrated my birthday, but not completely in the way I had planned or hoped. 

For about three weeks, I had prayed that two of my dearest friends could meet me for dinner after my time at Disney. When I reached the week of my birthday, I was sure it was going to happen. 

Two days before my birthday, after sending a countdown text, the exact thing I feared came to fruition: my friend had tested positive for COVID-19, and my other friend had been around her. 

I was so heartbroken upon receiving this news. It resulted in me being disappointed with God and starting to question, “Why? You know how much I wanted this — why did you allow this?” It was the day before I was going to be back at Disney for the first time in five long months, and this news put a damper on the day I had waited for. 

Some of my plans came to fruition, like going to Hollywood Studios and getting to ride my favorite ride. Still, it was hard not to be able to have a birthday dinner with friends. I had to remind myself several times that God makes everything beautiful in His time. Often, when I get disappointing news, the last thing I want to do is pray and find a promise to stick to. Instead, I go to the tablet or screen instead of the Word. 

However, I was reminded that there is joy in the midst of disappointment through my community group. On my birthday, they loved me well by asking me questions about myself, and the whole group played a game of Disney trivia as well. [Editor’s Note: Luke DESTROYED the rest of the group at Disney trivia.]

Also, throughout the day, I received text messages from individual members of my group — even some I have never spoken to personally — which did my heart good. I realized how loved I am, even by people I may not have had a lot of one on one interaction with. 

I joined the YAMs (Young Adult) Community Group in May of this year, and even though it’s been mostly reduced to on-screen meetings, I feel like I’ve been part of this group for much longer. The group has been a great place where I can be open, sharing what is on my heart. They have helped carry me through this pandemic. It has been a gift of God to me, and I look forward to getting better connected with everybody!

Happy birthday, Luke!