Yesterday was my birthday, but we don’t make a big fuss about birthdays around here.
“It’s just another day,” I say every year.
When I was very young, I felt a certain glow on my birthday, but I’ve had enough of them by now that the sheen has worn off the occasion. There are still sparks of joy in the form of phone calls, messages, cards, flowers, and something sweet like cheesecake to mark the occasion. Still, I’m always somewhat relieved when the day has passed.
Yesterday, I thought about Mary, my birth mom, and the way she experienced January 27, 1959. To say it was a hard day would be a gross understatement. Birthing a daughter in a delivery aided by forceps, alone, with no support from loved ones and then having that baby taken from her never to have the opportunity to count fingers and toes or inhale the sweet baby scent is unfathomable. I can’t imagine her pain. It’s taken a long time, but I have nothing but compassion for her and the grief she must have carried for the rest of her life.
Coming into the world under a cloak of grief, shame, and secrecy has made it difficult for me to have a sense of being valued. For the most part, I stay in the background, not wanting to take up too much room, not confident in my contribution and content to remain invisible.
The God who loves me is showing me something different right now. Everywhere I look I see messages. I hear whispers reminding me I am loved and to allow myself to be loved. A tender shift is happening.
The older I get the more I realize how little I know and how much more willing I am to lean in to divine mystery. Maybe that’s wisdom. Or a case of truth finally getting through. Or perhaps it’s a season dawning with perfect holy timing. I don’t know and I don’t need to know. What I need is to listen.
Happy birthday Linda. This post resonates with me. Next Wednesday is my birthday and I have always felt a bit shy and conflicted whenever it rolls around. Should I celebrate out loud or just let it roll by. I most often let it roll by enjoying a few cards, some Facebook greetings, phone calls. It’s enough. Mostly I am simply grateful I am still here to celebrate.
Happy Early Birthday, Martha! Sounds like we both appreciate the richness of quiet celebration and thankfulness.
Happy birthday, Linda, and be confident in your contribution, which is large and meaningful! Trust me on this. 🙂
Thank you, Marian! You are a gifted encourager.
Happy birthday, Linda! Listening requires patience, and I’m not good at either. But my sense is you are. Let your confidence in God’s love lead you to patiently waiting and listening, and one day you’ll have the answer.
Thank you, Sherrey! I think, having been fortunate to read some of your thoughts on your blog, that you are a listener too.
Happy Birthday, Linda! I recently watched a Zoom celebration of Henri Nouwen’s life (his birthday was a few days ago) and he believed a birthday was a time to say ‘I’m glad you were born!’. That’s my thought for you today!
Thank you Aneta! I like that thought.