Sunday, December 13, 2015

Completing 50 Years

When expressing age in Spanish, you use the verb "cumplir." It means to complete.
So instead of saying, "I'm turning 50," you say, "I'm completing 50 years." Cumplo 50 aƱos.
That way of explaining it makes much more sense because you don't turn one year old until the end of that first year - hence you are completing one year.

I am less than half hour away from completing 50 years.
In my 50 years -
I have laughed.
I laughed at Oprah's graduation speech when I graduated from Wesleyan University with a Master's degree.

I have wept.
I wept when my father died in March of 2001 and when the towers fell in September of 2001 and when I sat at that cafe in Orvieto, Italy, writing in my journal a month after that.

I have traveled.
I have seen the Grand Canyon and the Eiffel Tower.

I have taught.
I taught Spanish to seventh and eighth graders in the same classroom where I took my first Spanish class as a seventh grader.

I have learned.
I learned how to drive a stick shift during my senior year in college when two friends of mine gave me the keys to their pick up truck and told me to go out and figure out how to drive it on my own.

I have given birth.
My daughter was born in a hospital and my son in a birthing center. Now they are 22 and 19.

I have fallen in love.
I fell in love with Madrid the day I arrived back in August of 1986.

I have read.
One of my favorite things to do is pull out an old journal and read accounts of where I have been and what I have done on this life journey of mine.

I have written.
I have kept a blog for more than ten years, journaled for more than thirty years, and have completed the first draft of my book. (Please send prayers and good vibes to me to edit it in these next few months.)

I have prayed.
Every day, I give thanks for so many blessings. Every day, I ask for peace and mercy for those who suffer. Every day, I ask for help and strength to do all that is mine to do and to release all that is not mine to do. Every day, I spend time in silence with God and with myself.

In these 50 years, I have been broken hearted beyond all I could ever have asked or imagined.
While on my kanswer journey three years ago, as I celebrated my birthday with my children at Starbucks, an incomprehensible tragedy took place at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Sorrow beyond sorrow. I pray that the families of all of those victims will be comforted tomorrow. The shooting at the church in Charleston this past summer. The earthquake in Japan. The girls taken by Boko Haram. I pray for peace in our fear-filled, violent, and our gun-crazed country and world.

In these 50 years, I have been blessed beyond all I could ever have asked or imagined. Even on my worst days, the day my father died, the two times my daughter was admitted to the hospital, the day I heard those dreaded words - "We found kanswer" - even on those days, blessings and grace abounded. Excellent medical care. The comfort of family and friends. Hope, always hope. Faith. And on my best days, joy prevails. Countless safe trips in my car. Walks with friends. Trips overseas. Solo adventures. Silent retreats. Sharing poetry. Being loved. Being remembered.

Completing 50 years.
Grateful grateful grateful grateful.
Thank you for walking this journey with me.
Thanks be to God.

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