After saying, “Happy Birthday!” A friend asked me, “Do you feel another year younger?”
“No.” I replied. “After the stress of the past few weeks I actually feel older.”
His question got me thinking. “Is one incredibly challenging week capable of aging me a year?!” Am I going to look at this birthday as another year gone or as 365 days of endless possibilities before me?
The happenings within 48 hours were powerful enough to change my warped perception of my circumstances and future. This year I found answers in the gifts. Maybe not how you would think? Allow me to explain.
The night before my actual birthday, we had dinner in with two of our close friends.
Jill‘s gift is one that I will forever keep in a place where I can look at it frequently as it makes me laugh out loud while reminding me that it’s okay to need a little sparkle in your life. It’s okay that I’m known for my love of lippy.
This will forever serve as affirmation that no matter who comes down on me for who I am, my job is to be a light in the world…with a splash of color.
I woke up on the morning of the 18th with no plans for the day. I went to check voice mail and there was my beautiful Bella’s voice at 12:01 a.m. leaving a message to say that she wanted to be the first one to wish me happy birthday. She was! The thing that struck me most about this is
1.) She is 14 yrs. old and stereotyped as completely self-absorbed.
2.) She was intentional about letting me know she cared.
3.) It is a great reminder to me that kindness does not have to cost money.
I will be saving that message until my phone kicks it out.
Early afternoon the doorbell rang. When I opened the door there was an enormous arrangement. I tried to pick it up but it was too heavy. After Chris carried it inside and placed it at eye level, I stared, enamored with its beauty. It is absolutely breathtaking, releasing sweet aromas better than fine perfume. Sent from my sisters, mom and niece, it is a reminder that there is so much beauty around me on a daily basis. At times, it is too heavy for me to hold. If only I could freeze it just as it is so that when the world issues its criticisms I am reminded that beauty outweighs malice every time.
Late afternoon one of my favorite people in the world came over. Tara knows me well. I asked if I could open the bag in her hand as soon as she walked in. “Of course!” she said. It was stuffed with tissue, just the way I love and as I began throwing the tissue and reaching into the bag, I was reminded of the things that were stifled only days before. Creativity, Learning and Growing. The bag held in it, a photography book for the student I have become, a journal for the writer that I am, a set of 4 different colored pens of glitter gel for the absolute delight that I find when the glitter falls from the page ending up on my hands, face and clothes. A water bottle, representing sustained energy, dark chocolate for the happy endorphins that are sure to follow shortly after consumption and a beautifully colored scarf complete with sparkles, of course.
By the end of the day I had seen 3 sky crosses. They are Elliot’s favorite and I search the sky continually in hopes of seeing one. I don’t think this was a coincidence. The sky was literally filled with them. I had to smile when looking up and thinking of my friend and her love of these acknowledgements from the Creator. It was a beautiful birthday wish.
Those who sent cards, gift cards and…well…cash (thanks dad!) know me just as well. They know that for me having the freedom to buy something with money that someone else has given me has a thrill all its own.
And how could I not mention my Christopher? Without whom I would have gone off the deep-end long ago. He swoops in at a moments notice and turns my catastrophe into a manageable task. He has saved me from myself time and time again, but most recently from the words of defeat that I am so quick to tell myself. The spiritual, emotional and mental gifts that he lavishes on me are far greater and worth so much more than any possession he purchases. (Though I do love my camera gear.) A man who will fight for your mental, spiritual and emotional well-being as well as physical, is one you cannot put a price on. His value is far greater than any measurable standard.
There is something about being known. I don’t mean when someone with a great deal of influence remembers my name and acknowledges my existence. I’m talking about lamps shaped like lipstick and bags filled with the things that would tell much of my story without me ever saying a word.
So, here’s to the next 365 days of endless possibilities before me. No matter what they bring may I see them as blessings. Some blatant while others disguised, blessings nonetheless.