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.