Monday, December 14, 2015

It's my party

Fifty years.
I keep saying it.
I keep shaking my head.
I keep giving thanks.

Today is also baby Bean's 2nd birthday.
And Evelyn's birthday. I think she's five today... or is four?
It's also the third anniversary or the horrors of Sandy Hook.
My heart and mind have spent a lot of time there today.
With Karen and her family and the schools and families there.
There is beauty. There is joy. There is gratitude.
And there is sorrow, sadness and anger.

That's life.
This good life.
This tear-soaked life.
This life of friends and family,
love and learning,
resentment and frustration,
fear, doubts, and questions.
It's all in all of us.

But we are here.
I am here.
I am happy.
I am at peace.
I am so very grateful.
Most of the time.

At the same time, the stories from Sandy Hook and Charleston and San Bernardino and
Paris and Baltimore and Kenya and so many other war-torn, dangerous, violent, lonely,
frightening places remind me to give thanks for the blessings,
to stand up and speak up for those who cannot,
to give time, energy, money, and my presence to those in need,
and to hold on to hope and joy and love when despair, sorrow, and hate threaten to overwhelm me.

It's my party today.
I have danced.
I have cried.
I have laughed.
I have opened beautiful, thoughtful cards and gifts.
I have eaten delicious and nutritious and also not-so-nutritious foods.
I have been hugged and kissed and called and messaged and loved today.
I have read and journaled and cut and glued and planned and downloaded.
I have marveled at the generosity of the people I am blessed to call my friends and family

Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Thanks be to God.

This is what I posted on Facebook after reading nearly 100 birthday messages.

There's an old song of the church that begins with the line, "How can I say thanks for the things you have done for me? Things so undeserved, yet you gave to prove your love for me. The voices of a million angels could not express my gratitude..." That song is directed towards God - but today, I am gonna appropriate those first lines and turn them towards all of you, my friends and family, pastors and church family, former colleagues, teachers, students, and classmates, all current companions on this amazing journey that is my life - in the US, Spain, Haiti, Italy, Ecuador, Norway, India, and wherever Kevin, Claudio and Natalia are at the moment (I'm crazy jealous of all the travel so many of you get to experience...) I am enormously blessed to call you all my friends, and to be making this life pilgrimage with you. Your friendship, companionship and love sustain me in ways you cannot imagine. As I enter the next age and stage of my life, I forge ahead with joy, hope, gratitude, and so much love in my heart. Gracias a todos vosotros. Que bendicion es teneros en mi vida, en mi camino y en mi corazon. Abrazos fuertes a mis amigos. Due baci per voi, Graziella e Barbara. Grazie mille.

Then my amazing friends and family posted 50 more messages. 
How can I say thanks, indeed? 

My good friend, Kirk Hall, used to pray a prayer very similar to this one often at church. 

Life is short
And we do not have much time
to gladden the hearts of those
who journey the way with us.
So be swift to love,
and make haste to be kind.
And the blessing of God,
who made us,
who loves us,
and who travels with us 
Be with you now and forever.  Amen
(Adapted from a blessing by Henri Frederic Amiel (1827-1881)

Thank you all for gladdening my heart today.

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