They had their ideas (a blanket fort, cupcakes, McDonalds) but I had my own. I desired the
simple profound things of life to celebrate this 32nd year of mine – time to be a parent without rushing, breakfast for lunch, hugs whenever I wanted them, hands to hold and be held, random “I love yous,” a movie in the theater, and a baseball game complete with sticky hands, short bursts of conversation, and wonder-eyed boys.
But more than even all those things, I spent my day seeking to live the day grounded and able to receive.
“O God, complete the work you have begun in me.
Release through me
a flow of mercy and gentleness that will bring
water where there is desert, healing where there is hurt,
peace where there is violence,beauty where there is ugliness,
justice where there is brokenness, beginnings where there are dead-ends.
Waken in me
gratitude for my life,
love for every living thing,
joy in what is human and holy,
praise for you.
Renew my faith that you are God
beyond my grasp but within my reach;
past my knowing but within my searching;
disturber of the assured, assurer of the disturbed;
destroyer of illusions, creator of dreams;
source of silence and music, sex and solitude, light and darkness, death and life.
O Keeper of Promises, Composer of Grace,
grant me glee in my blood,
prayer in my heart,
trust at my core,
songs for my journey,
and a sense of your kingdom.”
– “Waken in Me a Gratitude for My Life,” Ted Loder
In the first hour of birthday, I wrote out Loder’s poem in my journal and let myself put down the pen. I read it, re-read it, and let the words actually sink in. Preparing for life’s transitions have brought on all the feelings… my former self dissolving and my new self taking its sweet time to appear. Our physical lives floating in transition.
So in the quiet, I let myself re-member my life in Loder’s verbs… complete, release, waken, renew, grant. Verbs not to be done by me but to be done by the One beyond me. I let this floating, transitional self feel the weight of the divine hands on my shoulders until my feet could feel the ground, standing squarely and firmly on the ground below. In the quiet, I felt grounded, and how good it felt.
“Let me not get lost in tomorrow…”
I began to write out the sentence but was immediately interrupted. All while I was being grounded, our older son had been cutting and coloring my birthday present at the kitchen counter – “flowers.”
I taped them in my journal and thanked him for this most beautiful gift. I wrote “Receive” next to the flowers. Then I picked up my pen to finish the sentence I had begun…
“…but be fully here today.”
Even while our life transitions to North Carolina for our sabbatical year, may God continue to ground me so that with my feet planted and secured, my eyes are ready to perceive, my ears are ready to listen, and my hands are open to receive life as it comes.