All at once, the sun rises on year 34. I fall out of bed early and consume coffee, cereal, and scrambled eggs as quickly as I can so that an early morning run is still possible. I read David Whyte. I scribble words in my journal – scratching out a few, leaving a few sentences unfinished, starting and stopping, letting it be. Our old dog snores close by. She always insists on being close to me – a gift that I know I will miss when her days come to an end.
The youngest begins making some moaning sounds, and I wonder if my quiet time is coming to an end. Frustration comes as I have no clarity on this morning. No idea or image or inspiration insists on being born this morning. But I show up anyway. I re-read my birthday posts from previous years, and I remember the places where I stood, the people that surrounded me, and the state of my heart in those years.
“Maturity is the ability to live fully and equally in multiple contexts; most especially, the ability, despite our grief and losses, to courageously inhabit the past the present and the future all at once. The wisdom that comes from maturity is recognized through a disciplined refusal to choose between or isolate three powerful dynamics that form human identity: what has happened, what is happening now and what is about to occur.
Maturity is not a static arrived platform, where life is viewed from a calm, untouched oasis of wisdom, but a living elemental frontier between what has happened, what is happening now and the consequences of that past and present; first imagined and then lived into the waiting future…
Immaturity always beckons, offering a false haven, an ersatz safety, in one state or the other: a hiding place and disappearance in the past, a false isolation of the present, or an unobtainable sure prediction of the future. But maturity beckons also, asking us to be larger, more fluid, more elemental, less cornered, less unilateral, a living conversational intuition between the inherited story, the one we are privileged to inhabit and the one, if we are large enough and broad enough, moveable enough and even, here enough, just, astonishingly, about to occur.” ~ David Whyte
Frontier: The extreme limit of settled land beyond which lies wilderness
Intuition: The ability to understand something immediately and instinctually
Each year’s birthday post is a sort of blessing that I offer to myself. A blessing names where you stand, what you long for, and the hope to which you cling. This year, my blessing is taking its time to emerge. It does not come with ease, but I trust it in its unfolding. It cannot be rushed. It does not work on a timetable.
For now, there is water to drink, running shoes to lace, and miles to run. There are supplies to gather, sunscreen to lather, and boys to prepare for the pool. There are smiles to offer in passing, small moments to enjoy, and texts to send.
Perhaps this year’s blessing will come in the living.
This birthday, I bless the settled land and the wilderness.
I give thanks for the inner understanding which guides my feet.
I notice those who walk it with me.
I claim the living, and I pray for more – more stubborn gladness, more tender courage, more gentle grace, and more hours with which to know it all.
For all the ways that the “more” will transform me for the living of these days, I pause and give thanks.